Jingjing Hu's instrument is worth almost $30,000
A Chinese student was thrown off an American Airlines flight for buying an extra ticket for her $30,000 cello.
As reported by NBC, a Chinese student was ‘humiliated’ after being thrown off an American Airlines flight for buying an extra seat for her cello.
Jingjin Hu was flying from Chicago to Miami to perform at a music festival. Hu booked a return ticket with a seat for herself and a second for her $30,000 cello.
Hu had called American Airlines to verify with an agent that her flight would accommodate the instrument in a seat.
“When I flew from Chicago to Miami, I didn’t have any trouble with that,” she said. However, on her return flight, the onboard staff told her she had to leave the plane.
Hu had already cleared security and American Airlines representatives who allowed her to board the plane and was even handed a strap for her instrument. After securing her cello, the airline changed their mind.
“She said your cello is too big,” Hu said of an America Airlines employee. “This aircraft is too small to hold your cello.”
According to federal regulations, passengers are allowed to carry oversized instruments in the cabin when passengers purchase an additional seat.
American Airline’s policy says that passengers are allowed to do so provided the instrument does not weigh more than 165 pounds and meets “seat size restrictions based on airplane type.” Hu’s cello weighs less than 10.
“We apologize for the misunderstanding and customer relations will be reaching out to her,” A statement from American Airlines said.
Jay Tang, Hu’s husband said the experience was “humiliating”.
“I don’t think we did anything wrong here and I think the way they handled it was humiliating,” he said.
In a post on Facebook, Tang said his wife was told at the time that she needed to buy either a first class or business class ticket in order to fly back to Chicago.
“Surrounded by three law enforcement officers, my wife was told again that either she purchase first or business class tickets out of her pocket or she could not fly back to Chicago on an American Airlines flight because of Federal Aviation Administration regulations,” Tang wrote. “So basically you either have to be rich to purchase the tickets, or just settle in Miami.”
The couple are still seeking a sincere apology from the airline.