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Instruments in the Air

Posted by Gregory Marsh on

Violinists kicked off of flights or denied boarding.  Cellists forced to put their million-dollar cellos under the plane.  There have been all kinds of frustrating interactions between airlines and musicians in the last several months.

So when I saw KLM's treatment of a musician last week, I had to say something about it.

It was a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Berlin.  A baroque musician, returning to Germany from a performance tour in Japan, had just gotten onto the plane with his lute (slightly smaller than a cello case).  He sat down in his window seat, and strapped his lute into its aisle seat next to him.

A flight attendant approached him and politely explained that he needed to change places with his instrument: "If there is a problem during take-off or landing, you need to have easy access to the aisle.  Once we are in the air, you are welcome to switch back to the window."

Satisfied with a polite and reasonable explanation, he began to unstrap the lute.  As the flight attendant turned to walk away, she stopped and said "Actually, we could also secure it for you in the galley, if you would like."  He jumped at the opportunity to have an open seat next to him for the flight, and they got it secured in the front of the plane.  He got off the plane in Berlin with a lute in his hand and a smile on his face.

I was impressed with the professional, courteous, and customer service-oriented approach that this flight attendant took to a situation that so many airlines have been getting wrong recently.  Thanks for a classy approach, KLM!  

If you're a musician flying with an instrument, KLM might just be the airline to pick.

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