Another tragic guitar vs airline story

Gawker shares David Schneider's tale of woe. "There at the gate was his guitar — stuck between the service elevator an a loading dock rail making 'this crazy sound' of 'metal on metal.'"



    1. PS – as a fellow musician (though, admittedly, one without a $10k guitar), that would make me physically ill. I’ve travelled for shows, but always just rent the guitars and amps I need in the destination city.

  1. “It was only after being contacted by Yahoo News that Delta suddenly perked up and issued a statement saying it apologizes”
    but for all of us non-famous people, good luck in this world.

    1. I don’t think this guy is famous at all. I think the story here is, if you can make your tale of woe go viral, it will prompt a response.

  2. He couldn’t afford a flight case for his $10k guitar? My favourite guitar only cost £200 and I wouldn’t think of putting it on a plane without one.

    1. On his Facebook page, he says that he stopped checking it in the flight case because it kept getting damaged by the airline when he checked it – even in the flight case.

  3. That’s the brown and pink case of a motherfucking Gibson Les Paul. I would die. I feel this guy’s pain in a big way: I literally have had nightmares about the destruction of my Les Paul. That said, at least he got some sympathy from the wider webs… he deserves it.

  4. The thing of it is that most airlines policy specifically allows instruments as your one carry-on item, if space permits. A lot of professional musicians DON’T use hardshell cases specifically because the airlines are (legitimately) less inclined to force you to check them if they think (read: know) they’ll get damaged by the goons on the tarmac. The other thing is that while a flight crew is often sympathetic, and will find you space in the closet or whatever, it’s usually some gate agent with inadequacy issues that forces you to check them. That’s why the policies end up randomly enforced.

  5. My Dad and Brother, both guitar makers, suggest always shipping your guitar ahead via UPS since they will insure for full replacement value.  I think they haven’t generally had any problems.  I actually think 1,000 + worth of repairs isn’t that bad, given the photograph.  Poor guy, good that Delta eventually decided to make it right.

  6. Agreed on the inconsistent rules for schlepping instruments by air (and sometimes, rail, in the USA).

    I have tried to buy seats for mine (I’m a classical musician with a cello-sized instrument), often without success on crowded routes. I’ve had my ticketed instrument kicked off of overbooked flights, but had my own ticket refused a transfer to match it.

    Some airlines won’t check my pre-paid freight flight-cased instrument. Some demand I check my non-flight-cased instrument (that I made prior arrangements to board with) but won’t insure it or transfer/refund my ticket

    TSA will sometimes stop my cased instrument (which is entirely wood with no metal mechanical parts). Carrying printed copies of the TSA and FAA regulations regarding instruments just insures more security theater – who knew we risk terror plots involving early string instruments?!

    OTOH, some airlines are stellar, especially Alaska and Virgin. Including staff walking me through security to make sure both I and my instrument get to the gate. Bring my non-flight-cased instrument in the cabin – sure, let’s strap it into a flight crew jump seat. Won’t fit in the overhead compartment due to change in equipment? Here’s the only empty seat on the plane *in 1st class*.

    But check a valuable instrument without a flight case…. not so bright.

  7. In the 1980s, I remember stories of this level of shittiness in air travel.  The stories pertained to “Papers Please” “enemy” countries, or third world hell holes.  Congratulations America.

  8. The LA Times recently had an article on flying with expensive instruments. Most musicians bought the instrument a seat (but don’t get frequent flyer miles for the instrument, to their anger). One ended up with a bill for millions in import duty and some were required by the TSA to take their antique instruments apart, though. (And I’ve heard of musicians being required to prove that their antique instruments don’t contain embargoed wood.),0,7042282.story

  9. Sometimes the best response is a good song.

    When Republic Airlines broke the neck of Tom Paxton’s guitar:

    When United broke the guitar of Dave Carroll

    And when Northwest broke Bing’s mountain dulcimer

    This incident should be made into a song as well. Let the airlines face the music!

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