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Flying with a cello is one traveler’s nightmare

In a state of panic and fearing catastrophe, I am writing this midflight as I travel from Calgary, Alberta, to Los Angeles on American Airlines.

I thought I did everything right: bought two seats, a ticket for myself and one for my Andrea Guarneri cello made in 1669. I checked in, got two boarding passes, and went to the boarding gate without problem. It all went smoothly — the cello and I were even pre-boarded — one of the easier of the literally thousands of flights we have taken together. Until . . .

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