Cellist gets lucky break flying with Guarneri instrument

Posted on: August 22, 2012

In Tuesday’s (8/21) Boston Globe, cellist Paul Katz writes about a hair-raising recent experience on an airplane with his cello. “I thought I did everything right: bought two seats, a ticket for myself and one for my Andrea Guarneri cello made in 1669. I checked in, got two boarding passes, and went to the boarding gate without problem. It all went smoothly—the cello and I were even pre-boarded—one of the easier of the literally thousands of flights we have taken together. Until … the flight crew informs me that this is a “code-share” flight, and that although I have an AA ticket, the plane is operated by WestJet, and my cello is not allowed. … I do the unthinkable—hand my love of 45 years to a baggage handler, a nice guy who promises he will rope it down so it will not bounce, and it will be delivered to me by hand in Los Angeles. The violent takeoff on a bumpy runway and ensuing turbulence — beverage service has just been discontinued — make me realize I have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. … We are at the gate. … Something is wrong. Five. Ten. Fifteen minutes have passed. The other passengers have disembarked and I am alone on the jetway. They must be afraid to show me. … Here comes the captain with Miss Cello. I open the case, pluck the strings (still in tune). No cracks, all is intact.”

Posted August 22, 2012