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Airline Tells Violinist to Pack His Stradivarius In Cargo Hold

Airline Tells Violinist to Pack His Stradivarius In Cargo Hold

Airline Tells Violinist to Pack His Stradivarius In Cargo Hold

The renowned musician was forced to take a bus back home after a performance.

A Polish musician was kicked off a commercial airline flight because he refused to stow his $5.3 million Stradivarius violin in the plane’s cargo hold.

Violinist Janusz Wawrowski said in a post to Facebook he had to take a bus from Vilnius, Lithuania, to Warsaw, Poland, when a representative for LOT Airlines told him his 300-year-old Antonio Stradivari violin was too big to carry on board the one-hour flight.

“The ground service presented me with two options: to put the instrument in the cargo hold or to stay behind in Vilnius,” Wawrowski wrote in the post.

Wawrowski, who is a lecturer at Warsaw’s Chopin University of Music, said he had traveled on LOT Airlines in the past but this was the first time he had encountered resistance. He said he was returning from a performance in Lithuania when local airport staff told him his violin exceeded the maximum dimensions for carry-on luggage, something he said is untrue. He described the attitude of the employees as unpleasant and said airline personnel had no appreciation of the historical value of the instrument later or the need for its safekeeping.

“The LOT lady said that we will ‘see if they get destroyed in the hold’ (literally),” Wawrowski wrote.

A representative for LOT Polish Airlines told Lithuanian public media LRT that an employee on the ground had made a mistake in not permitting Wawrowski to bring the violin onboard.

“In this particular case, an inexperienced LOT Polish Airlines handler made an incorrect decision on the basis that the violin case did not comply with the so-called baggage allowance,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We deeply regret this situation. We will refund the unused part of the ticket and will do our utmost to prevent a recurrence in the future.”

Here is Janusz Wawrowski performing on his Stradivarius violin.

Janusz Wawrowski plays Różycki: Nocturne in F sharp minor Op. 30, No.

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