Musicians finally find flight after violin flap - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Musicians finally find flight after violin flap

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INDIANAPOLIS - Making a violin is a meticulous craft - sawing and scraping and sanding. A playable piece of art made by hand the same way it was centuries ago.

“It's bad out there...it's really bad.” Said Ted Skreko, a violin maker at Indianapolis Violins.

He’s talking about the fact that violins, born in 16th century Italy, are encountering a very modern day problem.

“U.S. Air is not letting us put our violins on an airplane,” said Nick Kendall on a YouTube video released by the stringed instrument trio "Time for Three" on Monday.

He, along with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Zach De Pue, were left on the tarmac in Charlotte. De Pue can be seen in the video pulling out his violin and playing in protest. They were told by a flight attendant violins were not allowed on board.

“We were like, 'They fit!' We were explaining to them they fit. He insisted 'No,' and the captain also said 'No. They'll have to go under or you'll have to find different transportation'.” Said De Pue on Tuesday.

De Pue was not about to check his coveted instrument as common baggage.

“It's made in 1757 in Naples, Italy by Ferdinand Galliano and it's probably valued at $250,000-275,000,” he explained.

So De Pue played in protest; A prelude from Bach's "Partita in E major."

“Bach would be very upset!” De Pue exclaimed on the video.

And so are those who make and maintain the instruments in Indianapolis.

“Being told they can't get on an airplane with their tools of the trade is ridiculous,” said Skreko of Indianapolis Violins.

What happened for "Time for Three" happens to musicians every day.

“For us the message is like trying to get it cleared up so that musicians all over don't have to deal with this,” said De Pue.

After a storm on Twitter, the airline stepped in to help and the men were re-booked with their instruments safely on board with them.

Other Twitter users called on US Airways to come up with a consistent policy because while U.S. Airways says their employees were following policy and have discretion, especially on small commuter planes, there is huge gray area when it comes to carry-ons. The FAA says musical instruments - including violins - are allowed but a standard violin case is 31 inches -- 9 inches longer than the length of a permitted carry-on.

You can read the FAA's policy by clicking here. The rule regarding musical instruments is on page 75.
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