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Southwest Boots Passenger Who Refused To Check $80,000 Violin

The airline said the flight was completely full.

Southwest Boots Passenger Who Refused To Check $80,000 Violin
Southwest Airlines

Trusting an airline with a suitcase full of clothes is hard enough as it is, but when you are talking about an $80,000 violin it's a whole different story.

For one musician it meant being kicked off his flight rather than checking his prized instrument.

Professional violinist Emmanuel Borowsky calls himself a "loyal Southwest customer," but after a recent incident Borowsky might not be so keen to fly with the airline again.

On Monday Borowsky boarded his flight from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport to Baltimore with his violin in tow, only to discover that all of the overhead bins were already full.

When Borowsky refused to check his instrument, Southwest kicked him off the flight.

Borowsky wrote in a Facebook post following the incident:

"As fellow musicians can understand, checking in my violin is an absolute non option."
"Despite being a loyal Southwest customer who uses them exclusively when the option is available, I am very disappointed with the treatment I received this morning from Southwest Airlines"

According to his Facebook post Borowsky boarded early, but the overhead bins were already full by the time he got on the plane.

Borowsky tried keeping his violin on an empty seat, but the crew insisted that he check the instrument. For Borowsky that was not an option.

Borowsky said in a statement to Classic FM:

"The crew were just completely unwilling to assist. They only offered me one option – either the violin goes in the hold, or you get off."
"There wasn't any negotiating, I wasn't going to make a scene and they weren't willing to be reasonable, so I had to get off the flight."

Southwest booked Borowsky on a later flight, but the violinist had already missed a full day of meetings and prior commitments.

"I am now missing business meetings in Bethesda, presentations at UMD College Park, and teaching at Towson University."

Southwest responded to the incident in a statement to Classic FM, saying they were sorry Borowsky "had anything less than an outstanding experience."

The airline added:

"Our records indicate that the customer was among the very last to board the full flight and, unfortunately, the overhead bin spaces were filled with the carry-on baggage of other customers."

Borowsky told Classic FM that in the past Southwest was always very accommodating with his violin, but after his latest experience Borowsky might think twice about flying with Southwest again.

"I was disappointed not only with their decision, but their handling of the matter, it lacked compassion and understanding."

Knowing how airlines usually handle luggage people had no trouble understanding why Borowsky refused to check his $80,000 tool of his trade.

Though some couldn't resist joking about the stranded violinist.

But a few helpful frequent flyers offered Borowsky some advice to help avoid similar incidents in the future.

Though some thought the best advice might have been "don't fly with Southwest in first place."

H/T - Newsweek, Classic FM