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 . . .
As the cabin begins to fill, the flight crew informs me that this is a “code-share” flight, and that although I have an AA ticket, the plane is operated by WestJet, and my cello is not allowed. (Cellists beware: WestJet not only code-shares with American, but with carriers including Korean Air, Delta Air Lines, and Japan Airlines.) Of course, I object, at first pleasantly, eventually vociferously — to no avail.
In desperation, I try the overhead luggage bin. The cello is too big. “What about the coat closet?” I ask.
“Sorry, sir. This aircraft has no closet.”
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