Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Time for Three denied access on U.S. Airways flight

Passengers on U.S Airways flight 4781, bound for Fayetteville, Arkansas, may have been leaving on a jet plane, but local recording artists, Time for Three, were stranded on the tarmac.
Why? One word: Violins. 

Band members Zach De Pue and Nicolas Kendall posted a video on YouTube Monday afternoon which showed them standing outside of a U.S. Airways Express Jet with their bags and violins.

"Zach and I were on our way to meet up with our bassist, Ranaan Meyer, to play at the Artosphere Arts and Nature Festival," said Kendall. "We were making our connection on U.S. Airways out of Charlotte, N.C., to Fayetteville, Ark., when we were stopped as we entered the plane by the captain and his stewards."

The crew told the musicians that the FAA would fine the airline if they were found not to have complied with FAA regulations, which, according to the captain, said Kendall, prohibited musical instruments to be carried on the plane.

"U.S. Air is not letting us put our violins on an airplane," said Kendall in the video, standing next to the plane. "How many artists have to deal with this s---?"

Kendall then trained the camera on De Pue who began playing his violin.

"Out of frustration, I decided to start playing my violin," said De Pue on the phone from Arkansas.

At one point in the video, a flight crew member came down onto the tarmac to retrieve a piece of luggage and Kendall shouted, "Can you explain to us what you're trying to do?" But the crew member turned his back on Kendall and headed back into the plane.

"The 2 of us were just standing there planeside for a good 10 min before the [complaint resolutions officer] came. There was no getting around it. We could either put the violins under the plane, or forfeit the flight," wrote Kendall in an email. "We decided to forfeit the flight."

In 2012, congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which states, "An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage."

"We sincerely apologize for not only their delay, but what occurred at the airport," said Bill McGlashen, a spokesperson for U.S. Airways. "We did accommodate them on a later flight to Fayetteville and we wish them good luck and good playing at the festival."

When asked about the Modernization and Reform Act, McGlashen said that sometimes on regional jets it's a different dynamic with carry-on items, and it's a tough judgement call regarding what fits and what doesn't, what should be carried on and what shouldn't.

"All airlines have to submit their carry-on policy to the FAA for approval and it has to meet the basic FAA requirements," said McGlashen. "Each policy differs from airline to airline."

Story, photo, video and comments/reaction:  http://www.indystar.com


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