A flight attendant on a recent Delta Airlines flight struck a unique bargain with a flyer who was resistant to check his valuable antique violin even though there was no space in the overhead bins. The cabin crew member suggested that the world-renowned violinist perform to inspire fellow passengers to make a little room for his instrument.
A passenger on a recent Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)-bound Delta Air Lines flight faced every air traveling musician’s greatest fear. After arriving just in time for his flight, concert violinist Giora Schmidt soon discovered there was no space in the overhead bins for his prized antique Italian instrument. Fortunately, a flight attendant struck a rather creative deal with the anxious musician.
“She said, ‘if you play a concert for us I’ll find you space,’” Schmidt recounted, speaking with Classic FM Radio. “I said ‘sure ok’ thinking she was joking. She then announced to the whole plane ‘We have an international concert violinist on board seated in 10C. Would one or two fellow passengers be kind enough to put some of their belongings underneath the seat in front of them so that he can have space for his violin — in exchange for a little concert onboard.’ Well, that certainly motivated folks, and I realized she indeed wasn’t kidding. Turns out she was a classical music lover.”
Schmidt was quick to agree to the deal. After all, musicians traveling with valuable instruments do not always fare so well when negotiating with airlines. This concert cellist booted from an American Airlines flight by police would have loved to have been offered these comparatively generous terms from a kindhearted crew member and likely, so would have this Juilliard-trained musician who was mistreated by WestJet or this “mortified” American Airlines passenger who was told his string instrument was a “risk” to the aircraft. One unlucky British Airways passenger was even once informed that her instrument would not be allowed to leave the country because it did not have a visa.
In the end, Schmidt was able to find a safe place to store his beloved violin in a nearby overhead bin. Perhaps more importantly, he says his very first mile-high-concert may have been as much a treat for him as it was for his fellow passengers.
“After passing through with the usual refreshments, she came to my seat and said ‘are you ready?'” Schmidt recalled. “There was some turbulence and we were beginning our descent, but I thought ‘hey what the hell.’ As I started to tune, I noticed that due to the plane’s size if I stood normally my bow would snap in half. I then took a knee and proceeded with the Bach E major Prelude — with ear pressure and all! This was an absolute first for me. I couldn’t believe how much the passengers appreciated it – filming on their phones, and with a huge round of applause at the end.”
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