Martin Wray of the Dulcinea Quartet was flying on low budget airline Peach from Sapporo to Tokyo
Martin Wray, violist with London string quartet the Dulcinea Quartet, says he was forced to carry his unprotected instrument on his lap on a flight while touring Japan recently.
The musician was travelling on low budget Japanese airline Peach from Sapporo to Tokyo, and had read the airline’s cabin baggage policy regarding musical instruments beforehand.
According to Peach’s website, instruments may be carried as cabin baggage as long as they conform to size regulations – ‘the sum of the three dimensions [length, width and depth] should be less than 115cm and within the weight of 10kg’. However, says Wray, because the airline worker at the desk included depth in the measurement for width, the item ended up exceeding the company’s regulations.
Language differences further complicated the issue and in the end the violist had to content himself with being allowed to keep hold of his instrument throughout the flight, rather than packing it into an overhead compartment.
‘My case was fine for the outbound journey, no problem at all,’ Wray told The Strad. ‘On return, I just went with it as language barriers were becoming an issue. It was more a worry that I would have to put it in the overhead bins with the suitcases, but luckily managed to avoid that! Basically, violins are OK on Peach but there are very few viola cases that that airline will allow.’
Earlier this month violinist José Manuel Jiménez García was forced to store his unprotected instrument between his legs and at his feet on a Vueling Airlines flight. In June of this year Dutch–Italian violinist Cecilia Bernardini was forced to remove her 18th-century instrument from its case and carry it on her lap on a British Airways flight when staff refused to allow the case in the cabin.