Polish airline LOT apologises after denying violinist permission to take his £4MILLION Stradivarius violin on one of its planes as hand luggage… and insisting it had to go in the hold
An airline has apologised to a world-renowned violinist after denying him permission to take his £4million ($5million) Stradivarius violin onto one of its aircraft as hand luggage.
The apology was issued by Polish carrier LOT after it told violinist Janusz Wawrowski that he could not take his 338-year-old instrument into the cabin with him on his flight from Vilnius International Airport to Warsaw.
Despite the violin case conforming to the carrier’s cabin baggage dimension and weight rules – not exceeding 118cm and under eight kilograms – ground staff at Vilnius wouldn’t budge. And they stressed to Mr Wawrowski that he would need to buy another ticket if he wanted to attempt to board the next flight in five hours’ time with his violin as a carry-on item.
Concerned that his instrument could be damaged in the hold, Mr Wawrowski – who had just performed with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra – paid to travel by bus to the Polish city of Konin, where he lives, reported Simple Flying.
Following the incident in early February, Mr Wawrowski posted a video on his Facebook page explaining that LOT had since apologised to him.
Polish carrier LOT apologised to violinist Janusz Wawrowski after denying him permission to take his £4million Stradivarius violin on board one of its planes as hand luggage. Mr Wawrowski is pictured above with the instrument
Rather than check his Stradivarius into the hold on his LOT flight, Wawrowski paid for a bus home
Mr Wawrowski said: ‘LOT acknowledged the employee’s mistake and stated that it is allowing violins on board all of its planes and also apologised to me in the media and by letter, on email, as well as by phone.
‘I received a refund for the additional costs incurred, as well as a refund for the ticket.
‘Importantly, LOT has also changed standardised information on its website as to what luggage we can bring and in musical instruments and in cabin baggage.
‘What else is very important, LOT has promised to issue information to all its employees and associates around the world [about] how we carry the instruments in question.
Mr Wawrowski performs with major orchestras around the world
‘Including, of course, violins in the cabin. Thank you [LOT], for that. Also, perhaps something more will come out of this.
‘We will do a campaign together with LOT on how, where and what instruments we carry on the plane.’
Mr Wawrowski’s website states: ‘[Wawrowski’s] solo career brings him to perform in a number of the world’s most important concert halls, including: Musikverein in Vienna, Wigmore Hall in London, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Beethoven-Saal in Stuttgart [and] Seoul Arts Center.
‘Wawrowski is recognised as one of the most outstanding and experienced violinists of his generation. He received widespread public attention in 2007 with his first solo album, Paganini’s Caprices, released on CD Accord.’
Mr Wawrowski’s violin, made in 1685 by master Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari, is one of the most valuable musical instruments in the world.
Major orchestras often charter aircraft when on tour to avoid the risk of instruments being denied as carry-on items.