United Breaks Violinists

Though the reasons why remain a mystery, we’ve known for quite some time that United Airlines and the industry in general clearly has something against musicians who play stringed instruments.

It’s happened again, this time to violinist Yennifer Correia who wound up in a literal fight over her 17th century instrument with a supervisor of all things after being told by an agent that she’d have to check it.

Correia, a classical violinist on her way to play in the summer season at the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, asked for an airport supervisor. But the supervisor said there were no other options. The violin had to be checked.
Her attorney, Phil MacNaughton, recounted what happened from there. Correia told the supervisor, “I can’t not take my violin on board. I’ll pay the money. I’ll take another flight. Just tell me what I can do.”
As the altercation intensified, Correia told the agents that she would appeal to their bosses and asked the supervisor for her name, MacNaughton said. The supervisor said she wanted Correia’s name and reached for the tag on her luggage.
“Without provocation, the supervisor for the Chicago-based carrier then lunged for Ms. Correia’s case and, incredibly, tried to wrestle it away from the musician,” said a statement written by MacNaughton.
“I start screaming, ‘Help, help, help, can somebody record what’s happening because this lady’s trying to take my personal suitcase from me,’” Correia told Houston NBC-affiliate KPRC.
The supervisor said she was going to call security, and Correia apparently responded, “Please do.” Then the supervisor dashed off. That was the last Correia saw of her.

None of this should have been a problem since there are laws on the books in the United States that allow musicians to carry their instruments onto planes with them, a fact of which you would think someone working for a damn airline would be well aware. Sometimes you get to wondering if United just can’t help itself, don’t you?

Thankfully, Correia’s violin was unharmed. Her hand, not so much. She says it was injured enough during the scuffle that she went to see a specialist juuuuuust in case, but not enough to prevent her from making her trip…on American airlines.

United offered up its usual statement, which at this point it really ought to consider plastering on the side of every plane to save time.

“We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation. We are reaching out to Ms. Correia to gain a better understanding of what occurred and to offer assistance.”

So far, no pathetic make good offer has been extended, but I imagine those discounted flight vouchers and free sandwich coupons should be in the mail any day now.

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