flying

Avoiding Cello Flightmares

I just completed a four-city recital and masterclass tour of Brazil, which included one car trip, three domestic flights, and one round-trip international flight.  Usually when I travel for concerts, I face the frustration and complexity we all enjoy of bringing the cello onboard, extra ticket gripped firmly in hand.  The slightly unusual aspect of this recent tour was that I used borrowed cellos for each concert.  I left my own instrument at home for several reasons.  Although my room and board was generously covered in each city, most of my flights were not, and I didn't want to pay close to $1k for the extra plane tickets.  I didn't want either the physical hassle of carrying it around, nor the emotional/mental hassle from airport personnel in a country I [...]

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 [...]

NPR Podcast of Paul Katz Interview: Skies Less-Than Friendly When Packing A Cello

Reprinted from NPR - National Public Radio Paul Katz bought two tickets — one for himself and one for his cello — in the cabin of a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles. But the captain told him his centuries-old cello had to fly as checked baggage. After an agonizing flight, Katz cried when the captain returned his cello, unharmed. Listen to the Podcast on National Public Radio TRANSCRIPT Copyright © 2012 National Public Radio. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required. NEAL CONAN, HOST: On a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles, cellist Paul Katz did everything right. He bought two tickets: one for him, one for his instrument, just the same as thousands of flights before. When he showed up [...]

Flying with Your Cello? Print the FAA Passenger’s Bill of Rights to Carry With You

WHEN TRAVELING WITH AN INSTRUMENT, BE SURE TO PRINT THE FOLLOWING  PASSENGER'S BILL OF RIGHTS  AND CARRY IT ONBOARD WITH YOU! DOWNLOAD PDF   The United States’ FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act - SEC. 403 § 41724, adopted by the US Congress on 6 February 2012: H.R.658 - FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. (a) In General- Subchapter I of chapter 417 is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘Sec. 41724. Musical instruments ‘(a) In General- ‘(1) SMALL INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE- An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, [...]

WQXR Podcast of Paul Katz Interview: the Pitfalls of Taking Musical Instruments on Planes

Listen:  Reprinted from WQXR.org U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of Bureau of Transportation data. Fewer than three suitcases per 1,000 passengers were reported lost, damaged or delayed from January through June, a record low. But a recent spate of stories concerning musical instruments on airplanes suggests that the skies aren't always friendly for musicians. Paul Katz, a former member of the Cleveland Quartet, recently experienced a particularly dramatic incident involving his 1669 Andrea Guarneri cello and a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles operated by WestJet, which partners with American and Delta, among other carriers. "I was even pre-boarded. I got the royal treatment,” Katz tells host Naomi [...]

Paul Katz’s Airline Nightmare Awakens Public and Media Attention: CBC News

Reprinted from CBC News, Aug 23, 2012   Musicians call for clarity when flying with instruments Students pay for four extra seats only to be told two cellos not allowed on flight The director of Mount Royal University's Conservatory is calling on airlines to set a firm policy when it comes to transporting musical instruments. Paul Dornian said a group of students from Poland returning home from Calgary earlier this month were told their four cellos could not all take their paid seats on the plane. Air Canada told the students it had a policy of no more than two cellos per plane. Dornian said he’s never heard that rule before and says the students had no problem flying with four cellos to Calgary. He said musicians always tell the [...]

Airline Nightmare

Reprinted from the Boston Globe of August 20, 2012 In a state of panic and fearing catastrophe, I am writing this midflight as I travel from Calgary, Alberta, to Los Angeles on American Airlines. I thought I did everything right: bought two seats, a ticket for myself and one for my Andrea Guarneri cello made in 1669. I checked in, got two boarding passes, and went to the boarding gate without problem. It all went smoothly—the cello and I were even pre-boarded—one of the easier of the literally thousands of flights we have taken together. Until . . . As the cabin begins to fill, the flight crew informs me that this is a “code-share” flight, and that although I have an AA ticket, the plane is operated by WestJet, and my [...]

Taking it on the Road — by Brant Taylor

One of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of life in a major orchestra is the touring. After "What difference does the conductor really make?" and "How did the orchestra like _____?" (conductor or soloist), the questions I'm asked most frequently by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's devoted audience are almost always about touring. Organizing an extended trip for a large orchestra, especially abroad, is an immense undertaking. The initial planning begins years before the event itself, and all of the logistics that must be in place for things to run smoothly take the full-time attention of dedicated members of the orchestra's administration.  There are a couple of travel companies in the U. S. who specialize in taking orchestras on tour, and the CSO uses one of these companies [...]

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 [...]