Ooh, Interesting! Flying with a Cello

August 28, 2015

Here at Sternberg Clarke, we receive a lot of bookings. Many of these are based in London but a fair few are based abroad. This year so far, we’ve packed off Wandering Hands to Iceland (those poor boys...) and provided entertainment in Morocco! But let’s say we got a booking for a cellist and they had to fly to the event. How would they do it? It’s a unique problem for the reasons listed below.

Instruments aren’t the most durable of things, especially when they’re being passed around by baggage handlers who have to be moving luggage as quickly as possible in order to ensure that flights take off at the right time. Added to this, luggage can go missing and if you’re going to hit turbulence, you’d rather know that your instrument is in safe hands.

As such, many musicians like to keep their instruments with them when they fly. For flautists and those who play other small instruments, this isn’t a problem as you can include them in your hand luggage. If you play a brass instrument, it’s fairly durable so it should be fine in the hold, whilst huge instruments like a harp can be shipped ahead. But what about a cello? It’s fragile, not really big enough to ship ahead (and you’d fret regardless) but also too large to be included in your carry-on.

The solution, interestingly enough, is to buy a seat for your instrument. Many airlines now offer this service. But what do you call the name of your non-human passenger? Every ticket requires a name. Airlines have thought of this too – Mr. A. Cello has been known to fly around the States whilst EasyJet regularly fly Mr. Seat Cello around Europe.

Here’s the thing though. A cellist is having to buy two tickets but because one of them isn’t for a human, you only get the frequent flyer miles for one of your seats. So if you’re thinking about learning an instrument and fancy flying around the world with it, remember picking a cello could eat into your finances in far more unexpected ways than you’d previously imagined. Although, as an aside, if you’re expecting a child and happen to have the surname ‘Cello’, maybe give them the first name of ‘Seat’. There may be a few hundred thousand free flyer miles coming your way in the future.



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By Henry Fosdike