The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is urging Ryanair to reconsider its policy of charging violinists and violists for an extra seat in order to fly with their instrument in the cabin.

The UK professional body voiced its concerns after a 12-year-old pupil at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester was turned away with her violin at the boarding gate of a Ryanair flight from Germany to the UK. Her parents were told that the violin could either go in the hold, or they would have to purchase an extra seat for €230. The parents had previously been assured by Ryanair staff before purchasing the tickets that the violin would be accepted.

David Abrahams, head of legal services at the ISM, said in a statement: 'The idea that musicians should be forced to purchase an additional seat on board an aircraft because they are carrying an instrument that can be stored safely in the overhead lockers is unfair, discriminatory and irrational. These airlines are punishing musicians for being musicians.'