No violins allowed? Musicians hit sour note at Charlotte airport

Musicians with classical group Time for Three say U.S. Airways wouldn't let them on their flight with violins (Photo source:
Musicians with classical group Time for Three say U.S. Airways wouldn't let them on their flight with violins (Photo source:

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A pair of classical musicians says they hit a sour note at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on Monday when they weren't allowed on their connecting flight because of their violins.

In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, musicians Zach De Pue and Nick Kendall, from the group Time For Three, can be seen standing on the tarmac in Charlotte, outside of a U.S. Airways jet.

De Pue pulls out his violin and begins to play while Kendall explains that the captain won't let them make their connecting flight to Fayetteville, AR.


The duo was traveling to meet the third member of the group, bassist Ranaan Meyer, to play at the Artosphere Arts and Nature Festival.

The group says the flight's captain and crew left them alone on the tarmac without any direction. In the video, a crew member can be seen entering and exiting the plane several times without speaking to the pair.

Kendall says that this is the first time he's ever been kicked off of a plane for trying to carry on his instrument.

"We sincerely apologize for not only their delay, but what occurred at the airport," said Bill McGlashen, a spokesperson for U.S. Airways. "We did accommodate them on a later flight to Fayetteville and we wish them good luck and good playing at the festival."

Kendall says the flight crew handed him some sort of blue tab listing items not allowed on board and musical instruments were included.

The captain reportedly told Kendall the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would fine the airline if they saw musical instruments on board the jet.

Section 403 of the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 added additional protections for musicians flying with instruments.

The section specifically allows a passenger to carry a violin, guitar or other musical instrument into the plane without charging the passenger more than the standard for carry-on baggage.

According to the rules, small instruments are allowed as long as it can be stowed safely and there is space in stowage.

McGlashen said that sometimes on regional jets it's a different dynamic with carry-on items, and it's a tough judgement call regarding what fits and what doesn't, what should be carried on and what shouldn't.

"All airlines have to submit their carry-on policy to the FAA for approval and it has to meet the basic FAA requirements," said McGlashen. "Each policy differs from airline to airline."

Kendall says their instruments are very fragile and that combined, both violins are worth half a million dollars.

In the end, the airline put them on a later flight, on the same kind of plane, and they were able to carry the instruments on board.

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