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Classical guitarist has his instrument smashed by airline

Hong Kong Airlines refused to let René Izquierdo carry his guitar on board as cabin baggage. When he retrieved it in Taiwan, the instrument was unplayable.

The airline has apologised and is negotiating compensation.

UPDATE: …. or so it tells the local press. Mr Izquerido informs us that he ’has not been contacted or in negotiations with the airline, plain lies published in HK press.’

Full story here.

René Izquierdo

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  1. That’s terrible. Unfortunately guitarists have to go through the stress and humiliation of arguing on most flights in order to take their instrument inside the plane. But the alternative is this sort of situation and no money can compensate the loss of a high end classical guitar as they are all unique and irreplaceable
    It’s not even a problem as the guitar will fit in the overhead locker or wardrobe in 99% of planes.

  2. James Brinton says:

    Same instrument, different airline.

  3. Itamar Assiere says:

    In Brazil, carrying our instruments onboard became a kind of lottery. Sometimes the flight attendants force us to check them at the time we get into the plane – and sometimes they see the instrument bags and say nothing. But the airlines were playing harder some years ago, as they were refusing to check-in any musical instruments as normal luggage, even with appropriate hard cases! They said musical instruments had to be shipped as cargo!
    And what a bizarre: Antonio Augusto, a master horn player from Rio, was once forced to check-in his instrument as normal luggage, instead of carrying it onboard!!! Immediately he called on Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency at the airport, and the airline had to accept Antonio and his horn onboard.
    Last year, the airlines decided to allow us to check-in our instruments in appropriate cases, after the Rio Musicians Union (Sindmusi) joined forces with the Producers Association (Abeart) to complain about that to the airlines syndicate. They drew the attention to the fact: transporting Brazilian musicians is one of the main sources of income for the airlines. And such passengers were being actually punished with the instruments issue. Appearantly, the airline bosses opened their eyes. But, at any time, they may want to close them again – or keep them half-open.

  4. About 20 years ago, American folk singer responded to a similar incident with a song. It wasn’t too many years before the last 2 lines came true. I like to think that this song helped make it happen.

    Thank You Republic Airlines

    Words and Music by Tom Paxton

    Flying through the Michigan skies with a song in my innocent heart,
    I placed myself in professional hands, masters of the traveler’s art.
    When I opened my guitar case at the end of a beautiful flight,
    I’m sure you can imagine my feelings, as I beheld this beautiful sight…

    Thank you, Republic Airlines, for breaking the neck on my guitar.
    I arrived to do a concert with the Kingston Trio,
    Opened my guitar case with a smile ‘con brio’.
    Thank you, Republic Airlines, What a joy to a musician you are!
    What a zest you’ve added to pedestrian skies,
    It was boring to be flying where the wild goose flies,
    But the tedium was broken by your wonderful surprise,
    When you broke the neck on my guitar.

    Thank you, Republic Airlines, for treating my instrument with care.
    There can be no greater happiness for the musician,
    Than to find his instrument in this condition.
    Uh-oh, Republic Airlines, in the firmament of travel, you’re a star,
    For you treat each piece of baggage like a child of your own,
    When you come across an instrument, it’s dropped like a stone,
    May you waken every morning with a new broken bone,
    Like you broke the neck on my guitar.

    Now I’ve been traveling most of my life, and the thrill is a long time gone.
    And the sight of another DC 10 just fails to turn me on.
    But I feel my heart start pounding when I get to the baggage claim,
    and when I see how you handled my instrument, the thrill is still the same.

    Thank you, Republic Airlines, for splintering the neck on my guitar!
    My guitar case was so strong that nothing could go through it,
    Way to go Republic, only you could do it,
    Crash bang, Republic Airlines, in the field of demolition, you’ll go far!
    For you took it as a challenge when I turned in my case.
    and you saw the fragile stickers glued all over the place,
    May a team of mad flamenco dancers do to your face
    What you did to the neck on my guitar!

    There could no satisfaction greater than if,
    You should be the next to go the way of Braniff!

  5. My girlfriend goes through this ALL the time when traveling with her bass trombone. It will fit in 99% of all planes but still they give her grief about it. They don’t seem to understand that it’s her livelihood and probably costs more then their car. Last time we traveled and she had to check it, they cracked the case. Fortunately it didn’t hurt the instrument inside, but it’s such a stressful situation every time she flies. Someone need to sue big time for them to take notice and make changes! By the way, Delta is usually the worst airline that she deals with! Sorry to hear about the guitarist. He must be sick over this.

  6. Prewartreasure says:

    I really don’t understand you people at all.

    If you insist on mincing around the world carrying your ‘beloved’ instrument wrapped in material with the resistance of damp bubble wrap – what do you expect?

    Never heard of crush-proof cases eh?

    Take a lead from those who have to transport double basses and cellos, as an example. You never see those in places other than the hold, where they belong. Diddums.

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