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Flautist Threatened With Arrest Over Case Dispute

Flautist Threatened With Arrest Over Case Dispute
Jesse Tabit

Classical musician Jessica Schmitz was allegedly threatened with arrest at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) over the weekend when she refused to remove her flute from its case at airport security.

Schmitz claims the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked her to place the expensive golden instrument in a bin to be scanned, but she refused to do so.

“I said this was absolutely not an option, despite three supervisors assuring me my flute made of gold ‘would be fine’ rattling around in a bin,” said Schmitz. “And when I insisted that this was not, in fact, ‘standard procedure’ and closed the case so they wouldn’t damage it, they called the Chicago Police department to have me removed from the airport.”

Ultimately, the flautist cleared security when an agent had the idea to wrap the instrument in paper towels and run it through the scanner.

For more information on this story, visit Classic FM.

To discuss this story, visit this FlyerTalk forum.

[Photo: Jessica Schmitz]

View Comments (5)


  1. Lakeviewsteve

    October 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I hope she has safe flights going forward. I hope she learned a lesson and will bring the proper carrier for her instrument. She shouldn’t be granted any special privileges when security of everyone is concerned.

  2. o mikros

    October 7, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Good point, Steve, goodness knows what she could have done with it! I can see it now: “It was Ms. Schmitz, in the F cabin, with the golden flute.”

  3. Boggie Dog

    October 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm


    The flute was in its case. TSA wanted the headpiece out of the case and in a bin.

    What other proper carrier would meet the needs better than the instruments case?

    TSA was out of line in this incident.

  4. BJM

    October 9, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    It does show creativity and an attempt to resolve the issue. Can we give the TSA Community Players a point for that?

  5. note2001

    October 13, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Flutes are rather small instruments, but not so small one cannot visually inspect the interior for foreign objects. Picture a hollow PVC tube.
    Unless she was being unruley, I see no reason to call the police. Why they couldn’t visually inspect it after running the case through the detector is beyond me. Sounds like both Jessica and TSA were having bad days and then encountered each other. She needed to chill and let them do their jobs, they needed to realize there are some items that need protection when placed in a bin.

    Personally, I think TSA needs some clean cotton cloths at security for such a case.

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