Meet the new policy, same as the old?

Rachel Barton Pine and her violin are turned away from a flight, again

By Peter Alexander

I am starting to think I will never get to stop writing stories about traveling musicians being denied service by an airline.

The regulations have been clarified. And changed. And airlines have clarified their policies. And changed them. Airlines have apologized to musicians over and over for pointless interference with their professional lives. Every time they say they will explain the correct policy to their employees.

And still musicians, on their way to performances, are turned away again and again. You would think that traveling musicians are a significant part of airlines’ business, and that the airlines would not want to antagonize them. But apparently, since the musicians have few other options, you would think wrong, because it keeps happening.


Violinist Rachel Barton Pine with her violin

This time it was a flight captain. Rachel Barton Pine, who performed with the Boulder Philharmonic in 2014, was on her way from Chicago to Albuquerque when the captain of her American Airlines fight refused to allow her to bring her violin into the cabin. She reported she was the first passenger down the jetway, that she explained the airlines’s policy, but the captain said “It is not going on because I say so.”

It is true that the captain has the final authority for a flight. But why would he insist on this? Because he hates violinists? Because he can?

Whatever the reason, Pine was sent back to the terminal and had to reschedule her trip, leaving early the next morning. As reported here, this is not the first time that Pine has had trouble with an airline. In September of last year, she had to spend the night in an airport with her family.

You can read the full, original story about the latest  incident at



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