Violinist who refused to check $250K instrument tossed from plane

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A violinist carting an instrument valued at more than $250,000 said he was given an option by the crew of his US Airways plane that was traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas: Put your precious cargo in the checked baggage pile or leave.

So he — and his fellow violin-carting friend — chose the latter, CNN reported.

Virtuoso Zachary De Pue is the concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and he plays a violin that was crafted by master luthier Ferdinand Gagliano in 1757, CNN reported.

He was trying to travel with his fellow violinist and violin-carrying colleague, Nick Kendall, to meet their third in their string trio, named Time for Three. But they were delayed after crew said they had to check their violins. The pilot said sorry — that federal regulations don’t allow for violins to be carried on board planes and that violations bring a $10,000 fine.

But rather than hand over their violins, the two chose Option B: Exit the plane. Mr. De Pue’s violin alone is worth more than a quarter-million dollars, experts said, CNN reported.

Mr. De Pue — who is young in appearance and who was dressed a Ninja Turtles T-shirt, jogging pants and a backward baseball cap for the flight — later complained that he didn’t think his concerns were taken seriously by flight crew.

So after exiting the plane, the two pulled out their violins to prove their abilities and that they were who they claimed to be. They then filmed their impromptu concert.

“Film this man,” Mr. De Pue said to Mr. Kendall, CNN reported. “We’re gonna post this [online]. This is gonna be something that everybody talks about.”

Subsequently, US Airways relented and put them on a later flight with crew who allowed them to carry on their instruments, CNN reported.

“We sincerely apologize for not only their delay, but what occurred at the airport,” said Bill McGlashen, a US Airways spokesman.

Turns out, the same thing happened to the duo during their next flight. But this time, they had a copy of FAA regulations with them that proved the federal authorities had changed policies in 2012 to allow for the carry-on of musical instruments, CNN reported.

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