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Airline Removes Violinist After Refusing to Accommodate $80K Violin



Violinist Emmanuel Borowsky was asked to leave not one, but two flights, after Southwest Airlines refused to help him store his $80,000 violin in the cabin.

On November 5th, Borowsky boarded a Southwest flight at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport bound for Baltimore with his $80,000 violin, but things soon turned sour.

Borowsky wrote on Facebook: “After checking in last night and arriving early to the gate, I was met with full overhead bins on the plane. The availability of extra seating space prompted me to place my violin there. In response, I was requested to check-in my violin.”

“As fellow musicians can understand, checking in my violin is an absolute non-option.”

He asked the airline crew to help him secure his instrument in one of the empty seats on the plane, but the crew ignored him and put Borowsky on another flight three hours later.

“The crew were just completely unwilling to assist. They only offered me one option – either the violin goes in the hold, or you get off. There wasn’t any negotiating, I wasn’t going to make a scene and they weren’t willing to be reasonable, so I had to get off the flight,” he said, Classic FM reported.

“I’ve flown multiple times and both the airline and the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] have normally been really accommodating to all musicians and their instruments.”

Borowsky was removed from his second flight when a customer with priority boarding was provided space in the overhead bins over Borowsky’s violin.

“As I’ve never had any issues before, I don’t usually get priority boarding. Normally, they’re very accommodating,” he said.

Borowsky finally boarded a flight four hours later, but by then, he’d already missed business meetings in Bethesda, a presentation at UMD College Park, and teaching a class at Towson University.

“Despite being a loyal Southwest customer who uses them exclusively when the option is available, I am very disappointed with the treatment I received this morning,” he concluded on social media.

“They even went so far as to joke with me, saying I delayed the first flight. I’ve flown with Southwest Airlines many times – they’re one of my preferred airlines, I would say. I think this was maybe more of a case of one individual who was unwilling to help,” he said.

“I was disappointed not only with Southwest Airlines’ decision but their handling of the matter, it lacked compassion and understanding.”

The airlines said in a statement: “We regret that [Borowsky] had anything less than an outstanding experience as we always strive to provide our legendary Southwest Hospitality on every flight. Our records indicate that the customer was among the very last to board the full flight and, unfortunately, the overhead bins spaces were filled with the carry-on baggage of other customers.”

This incident comes soon after a cellist was booted from an American Airlines flight.

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