On April 17 internationally acclaimed violinist and Local 20-208 (Chicago, IL) member Rachel Barton Pine was denied boarding with her violin—a 1742 Joseph Guarneri “del Gesu” violin. The instrument, insured for $20 million, is on lifetime loan from an anonymous benefactor. Pine was the first person down the jetway to her American Airlines flight, and her only other carry-on was her purse. It was the pilot who eyed her violin and stated he would not allow it on his plane. She tried to explain that it would fit (as it had many times before) in the overhead compartment and tried to restate American Airline’s own policy, in line with the FAA Modernization and Reform Act.
The pilot simply stated: “It is not going on because I say so.” Pine was forced to take another flight in the morning where her violin was easily accommodated in the overhead compartment.