I s British Airways responsible for a broken violin belonging to one of its passengers in the case of British Airways breaks violins?
“We had hoped they would do the right thing, but after British Airways agents in Beirut forced my friend to check her violin (to Denver, routed through Paris) and crushed it in the baggage hold, they are being completely unresponsive, saying it was her fault, and refusing to reimburse her, after telling her to get an appraisal for replacement value”, a person named Sara Avery posted August 7, 2014 on Facebook. “Many people carried on bigger bags. There is no excuse for this, British Airways! You have destroyed the means by which she makes her living!”
The latest reported update in this — er…case — as of August 18, 2014 is as follows:
They forced my friend to check her violin. (Their policy doesn’t allow instruments over 56 cm/22 in in length on board. Her only choices were to check it, leave it behind despite needing it for practicing + getting routine maintenance in the US, or forfeit a $3,000 plane ticket and perhaps her last chance to visit her very elderly mother.)
They smashed it to bits.
They are paying her less than 1/4 of the appraised replacement value.
“Until #BritishAirways changes their policy, it is not safe for musicians to fly BA with their instruments.”
FlyerTalk member SherlockHerbert is skeptical at best — and other FlyerTalk members appear to be equally suspect of this story. “So much is fishy with this story: BA don’t fly through Paris for Beirut to Denver. Also their policies do make specific exceptions for musical instruments and guitars (as I have witnessed).”
Is Sara Avery stringing her followers on Facebook along by sticking her neck out and telling this story, which hopefully will be instrumental in fully compensating the passenger in question if it is indeed true? Would this be a hollow victory for the musician after fiddling around with the airline — or will she bow down to resorting to whatever compensation she does receive? Should musicians fret about transporting their instruments aboard airplanes operated by British Airways?