media

When the Music Stops — by Brant Taylor

For those of us for whom a musicians’ work stoppage in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was something we’d read about in histories of the orchestra but had never experienced in real life, the e-mail message we received last Saturday was a bit of a shock: we were on strike. Much of the "what" and "how" has already been disclosed elsewhere by both sides, so I won't go over that here. Fortunately, the work stoppage was short-lived—about 48 hours—and the musicians have now ratified a new contract that will allow our season to proceed without further disruption. Any orchestral musician who has been through tough negotiations will agree that they’re strange times.  An orchestral organization is tiny compared to the global business corporations in the for-profit world that deal with large [...]

Best Public Response Letters to WestJet Bumping the Cello — by Paul Katz

I want to thank the 200 or so people who have emailed me in support of my dispute with WestJet Airlines and I apologize if your comments were not used below. Don't want this blog to be too, too long! Only 1 email was critical of me and I include it below. The responses are worth reading...illuminating, useful...and a couple are  hilarious! —Paul Katz ------------------------------ Dear Paul, I felt absolutely sick when I read your story. I am a flight attendant for  XXX Airlines and my husband a Captain of 32 years. I am dumbstruck by the stupidity of airline staff and ultimately airline management when it comes to the handling of priceless instruments on flights. Our twins, a cellist and violinist, experienced similar treatment at the Canadian National Music Competition in [...]

Bumping the Cello: An Exchange Between WestJet’s Robert Barron and Paul Katz

Shortly after my "Airline Nightmare" story appeared in the Boston Globe, WestJet representative Robert Barron wrote a letter of explanation to the Globe.  It is reprinted here, with my personal reactions injected. – PK Robert Barron - West Jet Customer Service Agent: First of all, I'd like to say to Mr. Katz that I'm sorry he had such an unpleasant experience flying with us. All of us at WestJet are very proud of our company and its caring culture so we take it personally when we hear people are unhappy with us. The second-last thing I would want to do is cause a guest any upset, but the very last thing I want to do is to jeopardize anyone's safety. While many airlines do permit musical instruments to fly in the cabin, [...]

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 [...]