Yennifer Correia was at Houston airport waiting for her United flight to a gig with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra when a United gate agent told her she'd have to check her precious, 17th century violin (federal law requires airlines to allow musicians to carry on such instruments).
When Correia offered to buy a ticket on a later flight for full fare, the gate agent and a supervisor insisted that she would have to fly on that specific flight and put her violin in the hold. When Correia asked for the supervisor's name, the supervisor insisted on getting her name and initiated a "wrestling match" to get a look at her luggage tag.
The supervisor injured Correia's hand. Correia asked the supervisor to get security and the supervisor left the gate, but did not return.
Correia ultimately flew on American.
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.
An airline tried to get a musician to check her 17th-century violin. A 'wrestling match' ensued.
[Cleve R. Wootson Jr./Washington Post]
(via Naked Capitalism)