17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

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luchtzak
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17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by luchtzak »

Severely damaged 17th century viola da gamba on Alitalia flight. Would have taken it on board though ...

https://www.aviation24.be/airlines/alita ... ia-flight/

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by jan_olieslagers »

Yes indeed, always take instrument into the cabin. To take a very valuable instrument like this as hold luggage is sheer stupidity.

I once talked to a chap who said he always booked two tickets, one for himself and another for his double bass. There are a thousand horror stories about instruments, especially stringed instruments, broken by airline baggage handling. OTOH such an instrument, and especially the antiques, can be repaired almost indefinitely, even if it will make them loose some of their value.

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by Didymus »

On top of that, every musician knows that his/her wooden instrument shouldn't be placed in the normal hold of a plane. The temperature shock doesn't do any good to the wood and thus the sound quality.

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luchtzak
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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by luchtzak »

jan_olieslagers wrote: 06 Jan 2018, 08:11 Yes indeed, always take instrument into the cabin. To take a very valuable instrument like this as hold luggage is sheer stupidity.

I once talked to a chap who said he always booked two tickets, one for himself and another for his double bass. There are a thousand horror stories about instruments, especially stringed instruments, broken by airline baggage handling. OTOH such an instrument, and especially the antiques, can be repaired almost indefinitely, even if it will make them loose some of their value.
Negative publicity for Alitalia: 43,000 times the Facebook post has been shared, a huge blow ...

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by jan_olieslagers »

Well, to me it is not a blow to the airline: they are responsable, yes; but everybody knows such accidents can happen, and they do. Also, the damage was more than likely done by a ground handling company over which the airline has no direct control, though of course the airline does have final responsability.

And wasn't there an airline manager who said there exists no such thing as negative publicity, and that it is always good to be named in the news? :)

Above all I think this story is a huge blow to the musician, who should really have been wiser.

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by flightlover »

It would be the responsibility of the handler when the damage occurs due to rough handling. Something that is not always the case. it can also happen by the movement from the aircraft when the hold or container isn't fully loaded.

Anyway, bad idea to load it anywhere else than in the cabin.

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by Passenger »

jan_olieslagers wrote: 06 Jan 2018, 08:11 I once talked to a chap who said he always booked two tickets, one for himself and another for his double bass. There are a thousand horror stories about instruments, especially stringed instruments, broken by airline baggage handling. OTOH such an instrument, and especially the antiques, can be repaired almost indefinitely, even if it will make them loose some of their value.
Is that "chap that you have met once" perhaps Thomas Meeuwissen? Flemish tv VRT asked him about this incident yesterday, and he said exactly what you said: "try to book two tickets", and "this violin da gamba may look totally broken, but it may well be repaired":

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2018/01/05 ... alitalia-/

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by jan_olieslagers »

No, there are more sensible experienced musicians in the world; quite many in fact. Neither was it from him alone I heard about repair being quite feasible.

(and, by the way, dear admins, for me there was no need to split off this story from the "trivia" thread. But if it is done, it should be done right... "DA" gamba not "DE" gamba...)

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Re: Trivia 2018 (miscellaneous news)

Post by galaxy »

jan_olieslagers wrote: 06 Jan 2018, 14:39 No, there are more sensible experienced musicians in the world; quite many in fact. Neither was it from him alone I heard about repair being quite feasible.
I'm quite sure you are also a musician :-o

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by jan_olieslagers »

:) quite correct - and not only that, I have a "luthier" - a person who creates and/or repairs stringed instruments - as a near friend. However, just like in aviation, I am an active participant in music, but on a rather basic level - well below Mr. Meeuwissen's.

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by Passenger »

The passenger is not a lucky traveller, going on a holiday once a year. She’s a frequent flyer with a lot of practical experience on how to travel with a music instrument:
https://www.phoenixearlymusic.com/index ... rna-herzog

She wasn't allowed to take her instrument onboard (size matters), but she said that Alitalia promised her that it would be handled manually and with care. That happened before - she has some "Fragile" stickers on the box. And honestly: if someone downstairs sees a luggage that has the form of a guitar/cello, wouldn't that means that there might well be a fragile instrument inside?

Look at the photo from the instrument box on the Luggage belt: that’s not a violin, that’s a viola da gamba. Compared to the “S” for a hand-held violin, its size is XL:
https://vdgsa.org/pgs/the_viol.html

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by luchtzak »

I have had cello's on board, I don't see the problem taking it on board ...

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by Passenger »

luchtzak wrote: 07 Jan 2018, 21:56 I have had cello's on board, I don't see the problem taking it on board ...
When the airline refuses at the check-in, there is not much a passenger can do: leave it behind, or accept that it's luggage cargo. And as an orchestra leader, she is familiar with that possibility. Hence she insisted on precaution during handling. But seeing the damage on the photos, it's obvious that some handler hates classical music.

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by luchtzak »

Passenger wrote: 07 Jan 2018, 23:04
luchtzak wrote: 07 Jan 2018, 21:56 I have had cello's on board, I don't see the problem taking it on board ...
When the airline refuses at the check-in, there is not much a passenger can do: leave it behind, or accept that it's luggage cargo. And as an orchestra leader, she is familiar with that possibility. Hence she insisted on precaution during handling. But seeing the damage on the photos, it's obvious that some handler hates classical music.
I would have bought a second seat in the aircraft ...

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by jan_olieslagers »

@Passenger, you seem to have some good information. If a seat was booked for the instrument but access was still disallowed then there was indeed little else to do. Unexperienced as I am with airline travel, I cannot exclude that - but it does seem unlikely. If no separate seat was booked then the airline or its agents cannot be really blamed, the risk is well known. It is indeed surprising that such an experienced musician made such a decision, but perhaps we will never hear the full story.

And yes indeed, a Viola da Gamba, though variable in size, is the same size as a violoncello, or a bit larger.

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by Passenger »

luchtzak wrote: 07 Jan 2018, 23:21 I would have bought a second seat in the aircraft ...
.
jan_olieslagers wrote: 08 Jan 2018, 13:04 If a seat was booked for the instrument but access was still disallowed then there was indeed little else to do. Unexperienced as I am with airline travel, I cannot exclude that - but it does seem unlikely. If no separate seat was booked then the airline or its agents cannot be really blamed, the risk is well known. It is indeed surprising that such an experienced musician made such a decision, but perhaps we will never hear the full story.
And yes indeed, a Viola da Gamba, though variable in size, is the same size as a violoncello, or a bit larger.
I know from professional experience that not all airlines allow that passengers book an extra seat for a music instrument. Sure, they have some rules, but for XXL-size it's unsually on request. And sometimes it's refused indeed (I know at least one case, long haul flight, legacy carrier).

Airlines keep in mind the discomfort and safety for other passengers.

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by sean1982 »

Passenger wrote: 08 Jan 2018, 13:30
luchtzak wrote: 07 Jan 2018, 23:21 I would have bought a second seat in the aircraft ...
.
jan_olieslagers wrote: 08 Jan 2018, 13:04 If a seat was booked for the instrument but access was still disallowed then there was indeed little else to do. Unexperienced as I am with airline travel, I cannot exclude that - but it does seem unlikely. If no separate seat was booked then the airline or its agents cannot be really blamed, the risk is well known. It is indeed surprising that such an experienced musician made such a decision, but perhaps we will never hear the full story.
And yes indeed, a Viola da Gamba, though variable in size, is the same size as a violoncello, or a bit larger.
I know from professional experience that not all airlines allow that passengers book an extra seat for a music instrument. Sure, they have some rules, but for XXL-size it's unsually on request. And sometimes it's refused indeed (I know at least one case, long haul flight, legacy carrier).

Airlines keep in mind the discomfort and safety for other passengers.
the only requirement is, usually, that the violin case does not obstruct the hatch of the drop down oxygen to freely fall open, so it needs enough clearance from the PSU, usually around 37cm. As a viola da gamba is a relatively small violin (compared to a contrabass for example) that should not be an issue if a second seat was bought.

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by jan_olieslagers »

Funny how silent this matter has gone - here and elsewhere.

Just a technical comment: I can't really agree with
a viola da gamba is a relatively small violin
as stated before, a (viola da) gamba is the same size as a (violon)cello, some are larger, others smaller, but never by much. Tricky as pictures can be, I guess from the pictures posted that this one was rather smaller than bigger.

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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by sn26567 »

Alitalia dodges responsibility for smashed viol

An update from Myrna Herzog, whose period instrument was broken by the dodgy Italian airline:

Two months have passed and I am still waiting for Alitalia’s promise to “share soon the full picture” and reply to my request of compensation of the material damage to my gamba, bow and case.

On January 16th they wrote to me that “a deep investigation is still being conducted” but until now they haven’t explained how the instrument was smashed, and why are so many wooden bits and pieces missing.

I provided them all that they demanded on behalf of their insurance company, Assicurazioni Generali: photos of the instrument inside and out, before and after the accident, a certificate of value and of authenticity. And… nothing, no answers, silence.

So I made this 4 minute film, which contains also new photos of the restoration.




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André
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Re: 17th century Viola de Gamba badly damaged on Alitalia flight

Post by Yuqu12 »

At least it is restored.

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