air travel

Victory of the Campaign ‘Fair Treatment for Musicians Traveling on Planes with Their Instruments’

Dear signatories of the FIM petition, This message is to thank you for supporting our campaign 'Fair treatment for musicians traveling on planes with their instruments'. A draft amended regulation has been published by the EU Commission on March 20th, 2013, which includes specific provisions about musical instruments carried on planes, which is exactly what our petition was about (you can access the full document here: http://www.tinyurl.com/ctmddxe and go directly to page 28, article 6e). Of course, there is still some work to be done in order to make sure that the EU Parliament supports - or even improves - the Commission's proposal. But this is already a big success for all of us. I wish to extend our thanks to the EU Commissions' officials who have been carefully listening [...]

Amtrak Charging for Cellos? – by Paul Katz

Amtrak Charging for Cellos? - by Paul Katz The joys of a musical touring career continue! An Amtrak official recently stopped me from boarding a train to Boston in New York's Penn Station, telling me that I must buy a seat for my cello!" I've been traveling Amtrak for 50 years and never once have I had to pay for the cello," I protested. "I don't make the rules, and I don't know what trains you've been riding, but it's on our website, so there is no way you can get on until you get a ticket." The train was leaving in 15 minutes, so what the hell - furious and furiously, I ran to the ticket window and bought a second seat! But later I checked Amtrak's website and discovered [...]

Top Cellist’s Bow is Damaged by US Airport Security

Here is the latest travel outrage! Personally, I have never let a security agent handle my instrument and have developed a standard speech that so far, has always worked: "Sorry sir/madam, this instrument is extremely valuable and fragile and that is why I don't check it in baggage. I'm glad to open and close the case for you and let you inspect it thoroughly. But I will hold the instrument for you. If you need to touch the wood, please take off your ring, and be careful your fingernails don't scratch the varnish." That seems to impress them enough that they behave! -Paul Katz Top Cellist's Bow is Damaged: Alban Gerhardt Calls Airport Security Staff "Brutal and Careless". Reprinted from The Strad - Friday, 08 February 2013 Photo: courtesy [...]

Delta Kicks Lynn Harrell out of Frequent Flyer Program for Buying Cello its Own Seat

Reprinted from TheConsumerist.com Not wanting to become the Dave Carroll of the classical music world, solo cellist Lynn Harrell purchases a second seat for his cello when they travel together. This should keep everyone happy. The airline sells an extra seat to a very quiet and compliant passenger, and Harrell racks up extra frequent flyer miles that he can put toward future travel for his cello. Delta isn’t happy, though: they’ve kicked him out of their frequent-flyer program and banned him from it forever. His crime? Accruing the frequent-flyer miles that the airline granted to his cello. It’s not exactly a scam to earn free vacations, since he will keep buying full-fare tickets for his instrument for the rest of his career. Okay, it is against the SkyMiles terms and [...]

Travails of Travel with a Cello

Airlines can be sticky about these instruments, no matter how rare and valuable (Excerpted with permission from OttawaCitizen.com) Don’t tell Pinchas Zukerman, but Amanda Forsyth has another man in her life. His name is Carlo. He’s Italian, 300 years old, about four feet tall and made of wood. On second thought, Zukerman has probably met this guy. He lives in a special carbon fibre case in the home he shares with Forsyth. Carlo is, after all, a cello and a very expensive one at that, having been made by Carlo Giuseppe Testore in 1699 and being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That all makes Forsyth pretty protective of old Carlo, her nickname for her instrument. “He’s my other husband,” she says. “Whenever I go to Italy, I always open [...]

Cello Is My Co-Pilot (Part 1) — by Jeffrey Zeigler

Several years back I was flying out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. My cello was strapped into the seat next to me and I was ready to go. Lost in my own thoughts, a flight attendant leaned over and asked me very nicely if I was flying with an oboe. Now, I have flown a great deal with my cello over the years and have conditioned myself to be ready for whatever excuses the flight attendant brings in order to hassle me. But I had never ever heard of a cello being confused with an oboe! In complete shock, my only reaction was a nervous laugh. It was right then that I realized that she was actually quite serious and I immediately apologized. But honestly, where had she thought up [...]

Airplane Diaries — by Alisa Weilerstein

I think it's appropriate that I'm writing my first blog (ever—not only on this site) while flying between Madrid and Copenhagen. I've taken to telling people I live on airplanes lately, which is sort of true since I catch up on sleep most often while I'm in the air, and I've only been in my actual apartment for four days so far this year. I've been in Europe for a few days and for the first time in awhile am experiencing some serious transatlantic jetlag. I can't sleep before 4:30 a.m. and waking up in the morning (in other words, when the sun is up...) has been difficult, to put it mildly. I just finished three concerts in Madrid, playing Osvaldo Golijov's incredible Azul. Given my perpetually bleary-eyed state each [...]

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