Rules, by definition, mean a prescribed guide for conduct or action. But what if it is the rule-maker that needs guidance? A Polish musician was kicked off a commercial airline flight for refusing to stow his $5.3 million Stradivarius violin in the plane’s cargo. The airline in question, LOT Airlines, forced violinist Janusz Wawrowski to take a bus from Vilnius, Lithuania, to Warsaw, Poland, because they didn’t know better. The airline staff told the polish man that his 300-year-old Antonio Stradivari violin was too big to carry on board the one-hour flight. So instead of hopping on a one-hour flight, the musician took an eight-hour coach journey.
“The ground service presented me with two options: to put the instrument in the cargo hold or to stay behind in Vilnius,” shared Wawrowski in his Facebook post. This is not the first time the lecturer at Warsaw’s Chopin University of Music took a LOT Airline flight, but indeed the first time he encountered such relentless resistance.
The attitude of the employees was described as unpleasant by the lecturer. Not only had they had poor knowledge about the historical value of the instrument, but they also didn’t show any concern for its safekeeping. “The LOT lady said that we will ‘see if they get destroyed in the hold,” Wawrowski reported.
Wawrowski said he paid $2,000 for the airline ticket and could not redeem this due to his experience. A representative for LOT Polish Airlines told Lithuanian public media LRT that their employee on the ground erred in not permitting Wawrowski to bring the violin onboard. “In this particular case, an inexperienced LOT Polish Airlines handler made an incorrect decision on the basis that the violin case did not comply with the so-called baggage allowance,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We deeply regret this situation. We will refund the unused part of the ticket and will do our utmost to prevent a recurrence in the future.”
What makes Stradivarius violins so expensive –
Stradivarius violins get their name from their maker Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari. Stradivari, 1644–1737, built over 1,200 instruments in his 60-year career. Less than half, around 500 are still in circulation today. The beautiful violins created by the master craftsman sound as having brilliance, depth, and character unlike anything else. His interpretation of geometry and design for the violin make them sought after for their historical value and visual beauty.
A Stradivarius violin once sold for over $15 million-
Tokuji Munetsugu, the founder of the Japanese curry restaurant chain CoCo Ichibanya, pocketed a cool $15,340,000 after selling his Stradivarius violin. Dubbed “da Vinci, ex-Seidel, the violin once belonged to Toscha Seidel, a great violinist of the 20th century, who contributed to the soundtrack of the 1939 super hit movie “The Wizard of Oz.” In 2011 an anonymous buyer paid a whopping $15.9 million for a violin—named “Lady Blunt” after Lady Anne Blunt.