A small arts trust in eastern England is considering legal action against Ryanair. Norfolk Concerts had to pay £1,340 so that three violinists it had engaged could fly from Frankfurt-Hahn airport to Stansted with their instruments in the cabin.

Douglas Gowan, Norfolk Concerts' executive director, claims Ryanair broke a longstanding agreement that violinists engaged by the trust could carry their instruments as hand luggage and store them in overhead bins. This agreement held, says Gowan, despite Ryanair's website disclaimer that instruments exceeding the airline's cabin baggage dimensions can only be carried in the cabin if an extra seat has been purchased. Gowan said: 'We have used Ryanair for about seven years, often monthly, and have never before been refused ability to take a violin on board.'

Gowan had booked flights on 2 June for violinists Agnes Langer, 18, Igor Tsinman, 26, and their tutor Anne Shih. But on 28 July, just two days before the musicians were due to fly from Frankfurt, Ryanair told the trust that three more seats would have to be bought for Langer's Testore, Tsinman's Santo Serafin and Shih's Guarneri. The £1,340 bill for the three extra tickets is equivalent to 10 per cent of the trust's annual budget.