Myrna Herzog’s viola da gamba severely damaged on her Alitalia flight


On 2 January Brazilian born Israeli musician and player of the viola da gamba and baroque cello Myrna Herzog traveled on Alitalia from Rio De Janeiro to Tel Aviv (via Rome Fiumicino), with her original 17th century Lewis viola da gamba. The airline promised a smooth handling of the old instrument, but on arrival in Tel Aviv Myrna could only find a severely damaged viola da gamba.

At check-in in Rio De Janeiro the airline ensured her that the viola da gamba would be treated with care, taken by hand into the aircraft and out of it again. After arrival in Tel Aviv she could only establish that her instrument was entirely ruined. Myrna thinks that a vehicle ran over it, the musician tried to contact Alitalia yet without success. The only answer that Myrna got was that “Alitalia doesn’t take any responsibility for the damage“.

It is not the first time that Alitalia mishandles luggage: in August 2017 Italian bike trial champion Vittorio Brumotti’s two bikes got damaged.






  1. Alitalia has now issued a statement saying that ‘We regret what happened with Mrs. Myrna Herzog and we are carrying out all necessary investigations.’

    The statement goes on to suggest that they recommend an extra seat is purchased for musical instruments larger than a standard carry-on suitcase, and that: ‘According to a preliminary investigation, no such request has been presented by the passenger neither during booking nor at the time of departure from Rio de Janeiro.

    ‘During check-in operations, according to the information available at the moment, the passenger was presented with the possibility to buy an extra seat but she refused and signed the limited release form (a disclaimer of liability) after being informed that the best solution for such a delicate item was to bring it with her in the cabin. That said, Alitalia deeply regrets what happened to Mrs. Herzog and will proceed, having established the facts, with the reimbursement in compliance with the international regulations in force.’

    Mrs. Myrna Herzog took it to the restorer Yuval Adereth, who says it will take around a year to repair it properly and is trying to estimate the cost of such repair.

  2. It is common practice for musicians, or for that matter, any passenger with large, delicate instruments, to purchase an extra seat for the device. Herzog has traveled for years, knows this, so there is more to this story than she is claiming. She’s to blame, and I’m guessing that she was traveling first class and was gaming the system hoping that she might get a free seat for her instrument. She really shows her true colors by insinuating that musicians are somehow better and entitled to better treatment than other fare paying customers… The term JAP most likely describes her completely…

  3. Bob, what planet are you on? ‘I’m guessing she was traveling first class…’, what an obnoxious assumption…
    Many professions require to travel with fragile equipment, many of it taking into the cabin that are also slightly oversized. Things like various electronic equipment and tools, larger camera gear etc etc. Why on earth would it be insinuating that someone should be treated better for not breaking their stuff? Blame people filling the overheads with junk, cheap to buy cabin luggage, rather than the people who NEED to keep an eye on fragile equipment. An extra seat is, as an airhostess once explained to a friend who travels with a violin ‘oh, just another way to get more money off them, sorry’.


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