Two violinists who said that their instruments were not allowed on a US Airways flight have taken their grievances to YouTube in a video showing them protesting on the airport tarmac. Their video, posted earlier this week, has since gone viral and has sparked discussion about the challenges musicians face when traveling by plane.
Violinists Zachary De Pue and Nicolas Kendall of the ensemble Time for Three claimed that they were en route to Fayetteville, Ark., to play at a festival when they were stopped during a connection in Charlotte, N.C.
In the video, which contains adult language, the musicians are shown standing on the tarmac next to the plane. They say that they were not allowed to take their instruments aboard the aircraft, which the video shows to be a US Airways Express jet.
"US Air is not letting us put our violins on an airplane," says Kendall. "How many artists have to deal with this ... ?"
De Pue then begins playing J.S. Bach's Partita No. 3 on the tarmac while Kendall, apparently holding the camera, shows the pair being ignored by various US Airways personnel.
"Bach would be very upset," says De Pue, who is also concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Brandi Numedahl, a manager for Time for Three, said that the musicians were booked on another US Airways flight and made it in time for their first scheduled appearance at the Artosphere Arts and Nature Festival. The violinists were allowed to take their instruments aboard the subsequent flight, she said.
Numedahl said the ensemble received a message from the airline apologizing for the inconvenience, but she said they have not received any personal communication or offer of reimbursement from the airline.
"This isn't a campaign against US Airways," said Numedahl in an interview. "But hopefully the video can build awareness about the issues musicians face when they are flying."
Under a reformed set of guidelines enacted in 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration allows air passengers to bring on board small musical instruments, such as a violin, as long as the item can be properly stowed in the cabin. But the ruling has been inconsistently enforced throughout the country.
The violins that De Pue and Kendall were carrying are considered to be valuable. De Pue's instrument dates from the 19th century and is estimated to be worth between $250,000 and $275,000. Information on Kendall's violin wasn't immediately available.