SIA apologises to musicians who were denied boarding flight with instruments

SIA apologises to musicians who were denied boarding flight with instruments

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) has apologised to members of a Swiss-based orchestra who were were barred from boarding their flight with their instruments, said reports online.

A SIA spokesperson told The Straits Times that the airline "sincerely apologises for the inconvenience and anxiety caused to the group''. A review is being conducted to investigate the situation and assess how it could have been better handled, said the spokesperson.

Reports online said that the youth orchestra had booked seats for two cellos and were carrying eight violins and violas as hand baggage for their flight bound for Zurich from Hong Kong via Singapore on Saturday.

At the Hong Kong International Airport, SIA staff requested that the violins and violas be checked in as baggage, said monthly music magazine The Strad.

The group's artistic director Alexander Gilman informed the staff that it would not be possible as some of the instruments were "very valuable", added the UK-based magazine.

Mr Gilman said among the instruments were a Stradivarius, a Testore and two Gaglianos.

Over the next few hours, Mr Gilman asked the SIA staff to show proof that there was such a policy which barred instruments from being carried onto a flight, and even asked to speak to a pilot.

Both his requests were rejected, said The Strad, and the group eventually booked a new flight with German carrier Lufthansa.

According to The Strad, Mr Gilman had bought the flight tickets through a travel agency who also books flights for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He said that this agency has "lots of experience" and is familiar with the policies of different airlines on musical instruments.

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

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