International trumpet star Alison Balsom has helped force British Airways into a humiliating apology and reversal of their policy to charge musicians to bring their instruments on board flights as hand luggage, after she branded the company a "greedy disgrace".
The newly appointed Artistic Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival recently shared her pointed disapproval of the policy to her 17,000 Twitter followers, writing:
"That's it, I'm done @British_Airways — we've all been so patient with the lowering standards but not to let professional musicians bring on their (small) instruments as hand baggage? We take hundreds of thousands of flights -it's our living. A greedy disgrace."
Struck a chord
It literally struck a chord with fellow musicians after it was re-tweeted, with others sharing their experiences of travelling with British Airways under their intransigent new policy.
On Tuesday, British Airways customer services posted a message to the classical music website, Slipped Disc which stated that a new policy would see instruments carried on flights being charged, but following Balsom's intervention, hours later (and apparently after discussions with the Musicians Union) the social media storm forced them to return to their original policy position.
She later tweeted: "Delighted that @British_Airways and @WearetheMU have been in talks. @British_Airways this is a great opportunity to win back support from thousands of regular customers. The ones that NEED to take hand luggage. Thank you."
We are sorry for the misunderstanding. We appreciate how precious instruments are to musicians and offer special arrangements for transporting themBritish Airways spokesperson
A British Airways spokesman was reported on the Daily Telegraph website (under a patronisingly tasteless byline which described the award winning musician as 'Trumpet Crumpet'), as saying: "We are sorry for the misunderstanding. We appreciate how precious instruments are to musicians and offer special arrangements for transporting them, which are detailed on ba.com .
We will always do our best to accommodate smaller musical instruments in the cabin.
In order to ensure there is enough space for all customers to store their belongings, larger musical instruments can be carried in the hold in a hard case. Alternatively customers can choose to buy an extra seat to carry them in the cabin at a discounted rate."