KANSAS CITY, Mo. United Airlines is facing another bad publicity due to obvious reasons of mishandling by its flight staff. A woman was not just barred from boarding a flight with her violin that she claims to be centuries old, but had to face scuffle that has reportedly injured her hands. The woman fears, it may leave her unable to play violin in future and thus deprive her of her livelihood for the rest of her life.
Yennifer Correia’s attorney has threatened the airlines with a lawsuit on behalf of the 33-year old Memphis woman. The woman was reportedly flying to Missouri from Houston in preparation of a symphony rehearsal.
A USA Today report says that the woman, a professional violinist had a discount fare that, according to rules posted on United’s website, doesn’t let passengers stow luggage in the overhead bin, although an exception is allowed for “small” musical instruments.
A professional violinist found herself in an altercation with a United Airlines supervisor after gate agents allegedly told the musician she wasn’t allowed to carry her valuable instrument on a flight.
Her lawyer, Philip MacNaughton, was quoted by NYDailyNews as saying, “They told her she had to pay $50 to check the violin case…When she realized they were trying to make her check the violin, she said, ‘I can’t do that. I have to take it to the cabin with me…It is her livelihood, and knowing that baggage is often handled roughly, and instruments are often broken, musicians don’t check them”. The violin that is more than a hundred years old is worth tens of thousands of dollars or even more..
Her lawyer says that while the Venezuelan-born Correia’s hands show no immediate bruising or redness, “we’re all holding our breath…We think the odds of injury are low, but the stakes are career-killing…You don’t grab a surgeon’s hands, a pitcher’s hands or a professional violinist’s hands…She knows she has to stand up to United and say you can’t treat professional musicians this way. I don’t understand why airlines, especially United, can’t simply deal with an issue and not turn it into a confrontation.”
He said that the instrument was very expensive and this was the reason she insisted taking it along. “These instruments cost, at her level, tens of thousands of dollars…You’re making a living with an instrument that costs twice as much as your car — probably the most expensive thing you own. Airlines can’t safely transport it.”
United has faced multiple issues of this kind over the last few months. The instance of a Vietnamese American doctor, who was thrown out of his seat despite having a valid ticket made headlines for weeks.
Arkansassymphony.org while talking about her says, “An active orchestral musician, Yennifer frequently performs with the Memphis and Jackson Symphony Orchestras. Other previous engagements include the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto USA Orchestra, Plano and Irving Symphony Orchestras. As a chamber musician, Yennifer has participated in the Fischoff, Coleman, and Plowman chamber music competitions, and has toured and performed in Venezuela, United States, Czech Republic and Canada. Yennifer is a winner of the Presser Music Award, Music Academy of The West Fellowship Award, First Prize at the WRR Chamber Music International Competition, and the University of North Texas Concerto Competition.
“Yennifer maintains a private violin studio and most recently has taught for the Suzuki Community School at the University of Memphis. She also served as Violin Faculty at Garden Villas Elementary School and taught Suzuki Violin at Parker Elementary School in Houston, TX”.