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Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians

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JohnInKansas 17 Nov 12 - 01:48 PM
Gurney 17 Nov 12 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,999 17 Nov 12 - 02:35 PM
Seamus Kennedy 17 Nov 12 - 10:54 PM
The Doctor 18 Nov 12 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,999 18 Nov 12 - 05:56 AM
Henry Krinkle 18 Nov 12 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,999 18 Nov 12 - 06:18 AM
Howard Jones 18 Nov 12 - 08:48 AM
Henry Krinkle 18 Nov 12 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,999 18 Nov 12 - 09:01 AM
Henry Krinkle 18 Nov 12 - 09:12 AM
Howard Jones 18 Nov 12 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,999 18 Nov 12 - 09:29 AM
Henry Krinkle 18 Nov 12 - 09:50 AM
Bert 18 Nov 12 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 18 Nov 12 - 11:52 AM
Stringsinger 18 Nov 12 - 12:04 PM
katlaughing 18 Nov 12 - 12:28 PM
Stringsinger 18 Nov 12 - 01:33 PM
Stringsinger 18 Nov 12 - 01:50 PM
Gurney 18 Nov 12 - 02:06 PM
Howard Jones 18 Nov 12 - 02:25 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 12 - 04:28 PM
Stringsinger 18 Nov 12 - 05:50 PM
Tootler 18 Nov 12 - 06:45 PM
Henry Krinkle 18 Nov 12 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,999 18 Nov 12 - 07:14 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Nov 12 - 07:35 PM
Howard Jones 18 Nov 12 - 07:39 PM
Henry Krinkle 18 Nov 12 - 08:17 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Nov 12 - 11:06 PM
Bert 19 Nov 12 - 02:02 AM
Henry Krinkle 19 Nov 12 - 02:07 AM
Tootler 19 Nov 12 - 05:25 PM
Gurney 19 Nov 12 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,999 19 Nov 12 - 06:21 PM
Don Firth 19 Nov 12 - 07:00 PM
banjoman 20 Nov 12 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Nov 12 - 08:41 AM
Mark Ross 20 Nov 12 - 10:25 AM
Don Firth 20 Nov 12 - 02:01 PM
Don Firth 20 Nov 12 - 02:03 PM
Genie 20 Nov 12 - 03:37 PM
Genie 20 Nov 12 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Nov 12 - 12:23 AM
Don Firth 21 Nov 12 - 01:55 AM
Henry Krinkle 21 Nov 12 - 02:18 AM
Gurney 21 Nov 12 - 02:03 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 21 Nov 12 - 02:34 PM
Howard Jones 21 Nov 12 - 02:50 PM
Don Firth 21 Nov 12 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,999 21 Nov 12 - 04:32 PM
Genie 21 Nov 12 - 04:47 PM
Don Firth 21 Nov 12 - 05:26 PM
Tootler 21 Nov 12 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,999 21 Nov 12 - 09:14 PM
Don Firth 21 Nov 12 - 10:11 PM
Don Firth 21 Nov 12 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,999 21 Nov 12 - 10:39 PM
Howard Jones 22 Nov 12 - 03:47 AM
Haruo 22 Nov 12 - 04:52 AM
Don Firth 22 Nov 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,999 22 Nov 12 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Philippa 22 Nov 12 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,999 22 Nov 12 - 05:11 PM
Jack Campin 29 Nov 12 - 09:51 AM
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Subject: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Nov 12 - 01:48 PM

Delta kicks musician out of SkyMiles program

A. Pawlowski, NBC News contributor
15 Nov 2012

A world-renowned cellist says Delta Air Lines made him feel like a "master criminal" after the carrier banished him from its frequent flier program for collecting miles whenever he paid for an extra seat for his instrument.

Courtesy Lynn Harrell

Cellist Lynn Harrell found himself on Delta's naughty list.
Lynn Harrell travels all over the world to perform and always buys a second full fare ticket for his cello, which is too delicate and valuable to fly as checked baggage.

A travel agent set up a separate Delta SkyMiles account for the instrument 15 years ago under the name "Cello Harrell" and Harrell collected frequent flier miles for both himself and his stringed companion without any problems for more than a decade.

"They kept giving me miles," Harrell told NBC News.

That ended with a terse letter from the airline in January – an incident Harrell shared on his blog on Monday in a post titled, "No miles for you!"

"It has come to our attention that you have continued to earn miles for your cello even after you were advised in 2001 that this was not permitted," the letter, signed by SkyMiles auditor Jonsey Vee, reads.
It goes on to say that Delta had closed the cello's account and terminated Harrell's membership in the program. All of the accumulated miles in both accounts -- several hundred thousand in all – were gone, Harrell said. In addition, he could never reopen a new SkyMiles account.

The 2001 warning the letter refers to is a note informing Harrell that the cello was not allowed to accrue mileage, but he either just forgot about it or never saw it when his secretary handled the correspondence, Harrell said. He was taken aback by the harshness of Delta's January decision.

"This was an outrageous event and it came absolutely out of the blue," Harrell said. "They could have just simply taken the miles away from the cello and be done with that."

On his blog, Harrell wrote that "it seemed as though they were trying to make me feel like some sort of master criminal."

Delta did not respond to a request for comment, but SkyMiles rules and conditions do state that mileage credit will not be given for "tickets purchased to carry excess baggage such as musical instruments."

American Airlines has a similar policy for its AAdvantage frequent flier program: Only individual persons are eligible for membership. Corporations, other entities, animals or blocked-seat baggage cannot become AAdvantage members or to accrue miles.

But Harrell said airlines including United, Alaska and Lufthansa still let him accrue miles when he buys a second seat for his cello. Limiting the amount of miles passengers can collect translates into profits for carriers, he added.

"I am sorry and perplexed that airlines like Delta are willing to turn down the opportunity to maintain long-time customers and income (my career has been in full swing for more than 40 years!) for nothing more than the ability to make a quick one-off buck now by selling my miles," Harrell wrote on his blog.

He's grateful that he didn't use his Delta SkyMiles to book personal trips because he would have had to scramble to rebook vacations and upgrades in the wake of his account cancellation.

"I avoid Delta as much as I can," he said.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Gurney
Date: 17 Nov 12 - 02:31 PM

I'm surprised that they can fly when they have their heads so far up there/their.... The cello seat was paid for, so why should it make a difference? Bet the cabin staff didn't complain!
Some twat in an office somewhere, flying a desk.
He probably wouldn't want to fly United after the recent guitar publicity, though.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Nov 12 - 02:35 PM

Until such time as musicians protest to Delta, this crap will keep on keeping on. By protest, I mean tell the airline that until they change their rules regarding a second seat for a guy or gal's instrument you will use any other airline available. Period. AND, call them to let them know you have done so whenever you have done so.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 17 Nov 12 - 10:54 PM

Just did, Bruce. Now let's wait and see what they say.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: The Doctor
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 05:43 AM

The answer is obviously to write a song about the experience, and post it on You Tube. Airlines generally seem to have a very negative attitude towards instruments and their partners.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 05:56 AM

Hi, Seamus. Where are you now?


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 06:00 AM

Anybody gets on an airplane is cracked. Dangerous things.
I won't do it again.
=(:-( o)


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 06:18 AM

I don't mind flying. It's the strip search, colonoscopy and X-rays before the flight that I find bothersome.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 08:48 AM

So he fraudulently tried to claim air miles when the terms and conditions stated the extra seat wasn't eligible, despite being warned, and then whinges when he gets caught? He's lucky they didn't call the police.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 08:54 AM

It's all about getting over on the system. No honesty and integrity. What would Abe think?
=(:-( 0)


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 09:01 AM

I agree with Howard in this case, but as a general rule, no. He is paying for the seat and so should receive air miles for that purchase.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 09:12 AM

Sure he paid for two. And he should get the credit. Didn't the airlines get bailed out too?
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 09:26 AM

Whether he should get air miles for a second seat is a different question entirely. I agree, it seems unfair. However Delta, and so far as I am aware most other airlines, don't give them. That's the deal. If you fly with them and sign up to their rewards plan then you have to accept the terms and conditions. If you don't like it, find another airline.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 09:29 AM

And THAT is exactly what I have suggested!


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 09:50 AM

Don't fly. You feed the corporate beast.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Bert
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 10:42 AM

How stupid can these Delta people be? Surely someone who buys TWO SEATS when they fly is a very valuable passenger and should be given extra benefits not less.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 11:52 AM

I `ad one of those musicianers in my cab the other day. `e `ad the right `ump over something. I could tell. `e was getting all `is minims mixed up with `is quavers.
I said, "Morning Maestro. What`s the problem? Your "G" string playing you up a bit, is it?"
`e said, " Nah Jim. It`s that Delta Airlines. I`ve been flying with them for years booking my cello into another seat and now they`ve stopped giving me Airmiles for the second seat. It`s a bloody liberty!!"
I said, "Not Really. I aint never seen a cello buy the overpriced sandwiches and coffee on board or do money on booze and cosmetics!!".

Whaddam I like??


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 12:04 PM

Delta just doesn't like cellos. No frequent flyer mileage for them.
Is this wrong? Dunno, but they could have been more polite about it.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 12:28 PM

i think the Supreme Court needs to rule on if a cello is a person..,


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 01:33 PM

Another solution is to just give frequent flier miles to the cello and make the companion pay.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 01:50 PM

Delta however, doesn't mind flutes or ukes or even an autoharp. It will also accommodate harmonicas if you can get past security with them.

What the world needs is a collapsible cello.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Gurney
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 02:06 PM

The point is that the cello, as John said at the beginning, is booked as a separate individual, with a name and thus an identity. The airline is treating it as an appurtenance to the musician.
That only happens when they perform.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 02:25 PM

The point is that a seat booked for extra luggage does not qualify for air miles. Whether or not that is reasonable is beside the point, those are Delta's terms and conditions. Passing the booking off as being for another person appears to be a fraudulent attempt to obtain air miles he's not entitled to, which is probably why Delta cancelled his account as well as the cello's.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 04:28 PM

I flew a fair amount in the 1950s and early 60s with my guitar. When I checked my luggage, along with the guitar the first time, I told them at the counter that the guitar was fairly fragile and I worried about it being put into the luggage compartment. The clerk put a "Special Handling" tag on the case, and rather than stowing it with the rest of the luggage, a flight attendant (they called them "stewardesses" back in those prehistoric times) carried it on board the plane and set it securely in the coat closet near the stewardess's station. Then, it was brought to me by another person when I picked up my luggage. No sweat! That seemed to be Standard Operating Procedure back then.

A few decades later, my wife and I were visiting her parents who were living in Holland, Michigan at the time. No problem going. But on the way back, on a half-hour flight from Grand Rapids to Chicago to change planes back to Seattle, the shuttle flight company (Uncle Reuben's Storm Door and Airline Company) insisted that my guitar go into the luggage compartment with the rest of the luggage. I baulked. The plane was a Boeing 737 twin-jet, and I knew that there was plenty of room in the coat closet. After some heated argument, I wound up having to buy a seat for my guitar. When boarding the plane in Chicago, once again, a flight attendant carried my guitar aboard and put it into the coat closet.

Then—about fifteen years ago, Barbara and I had occasion to visit some of her relatives in Nebraska. I didn't take my guitar this time, but a few years before, I'd had to take to a wheelchair.

The airline's procedure was to transfer me to a small, narrow chair (my wheelchair, including wheels and all, being too wide [26 inches] to negotiate the aisles inside the plane) and push me down the aisle to where I could transfer to my assigned seat, then go the reverse trip when I arrived at my destination. And they would meet me at the terminal end of the "breezeway" with my wheelchair just retrieved from the plane's luggage compartment.

But—some idiot(s) had apparently crammed the wheelchair into the luggage compartment and bent the frame. It was usable, but I had to point it several degrees off from where I wanted to go, and each of the wheels wanted to go in a slightly different direction. And they were just going to leave it at that.

I raised Hell and slid a brick under it ! A moment or two later, some kind of supervisor appeared. She took a damage report. I pointed out that, although the chair was temporarily usable, it was certainly going to have to be repaired or replaced.

But I had to be bloody damned firm with her. She seemed to be trying to imply that the damage to the wheelchair was somehow my fault!

It wasn't until I mentioned "lawyer" that she suddenly became more friendly. Then, she filled out a report, and I received a "chit" for the wheelchair.

When I got back to Seattle, I went to a medical supply store that sold wheelchairs and such, and that had a repair shop. They examined the chair and said that it would cost more to repair than a new one would cost. So I bought a new one and, using the authorization, had the store bill the airline for it.

Very nice, comfortable wheelchair. Still using it.

But—airline baggage handlers are ape-like barbarians, and airline policy about luggage handling has become stupid and barbaric within recent years.

Don Firth

P. S. In the case of Lynn Harrell's cello, or any other situation in which someone pays full fare for a seat, why should it make a difference to the airline whether that seat is occupied by a living person, a cello, or someone's pet hamster!?? They got paid for the seat, and the rights and privileges that go with that purchase should apply!


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 05:50 PM

The principle is that they want people in the seats. Economically it makes no sense, but the idea is that fill the plane with people. Some might complain if the cello is coddled.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 06:45 PM

The point is that a seat booked for extra luggage does not qualify for air miles. Whether or not that is reasonable is beside the point, those are Delta's terms and conditions. Passing the booking off as being for another person appears to be a fraudulent attempt to obtain air miles he's not entitled to, which is probably why Delta cancelled his account as well as the cello's.

While you might be right legalistically, it does seem to have been a genuine oversight and Delta's response seems disproportionate, especially as he is having to pay a full fare for the cello. Cancelling the cello's airmiles would seem to be the reasonable response.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 07:01 PM

I don't have any problem with Delta disliking musicians. They're selfish, immature, egotistical bastards. All screaming for attention and never getting enough.
I wouldn't give ya' a nickel for one.
=(:-( D)


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 07:14 PM

Well said, Henry. I knew you and I could get along. Thing is, Delta dislikes cellos. Where I'm from, them's fighting words. Fuck with my cello, you fuck with me!


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 07:35 PM

The airline not only charged full fare for the cello, they created a separate account in the name of the cello, and credited it with the extra miles for ten(?) years before deciding to revoke not only the cello's miles but those of the musician.

It would seem reasonable that they revoke the extra miles for the cello, since they were clearly identifiable; but there doesn't seem to be much justification for taking those for the musician. A more reasonable response would have been invoking the "non-transferable" clause typically included and known by must requiring that only the cello could use the miles (with proper ID).

A post above cites the excellent response of an airline when:

"The clerk put a "Special Handling" tag on the case, and ..."

On a business trip, an item of equipment (aircraft part) needed to be returned to the factory, and "management" demanded that I "hand carry it" so they'd get it as quickly as possible. (Ground freight would have had it there in 3 days at the time, and I wasn't leaving by the time it would have arrived.) I had to purchase a "suitcase" large enough to hold it, but when I arrived at the airline they insisted it was "too heavy and besides it looked suspicious" so they marked it "special handling" and took it to do whatever special thing they insisted on doing.

Instead of arriving with me in Wichita, Kansas the next day (4 days after it could have been sent on its way by freight and a day after it would have been in Wichita ahead of me), it was located - ten days later - in Puerto Rico, and took a total of 48 days before it finally arrived in Wichita.

[They did reimburse me for the suitcase and I still use it occasionally. It's one of the nicer ones I have.]

John


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 07:39 PM

Well the facts as reported in the OP are that a seat was being booked in the name of a fictional person in order to obtain air miles that he wasn't entitled to UNDER THE RULES OF THE SCHEME. He then ignored a letter telling him to desist. He repeatedly broke the terms and conditions of the scheme, and in the circumstances it's hardly surprising the airline took action. Whilst he may rightly complain that the t&cs are unfair, he is in no position to complain about the action they took. He was totally in the wrong.

I don't know whether or not Delta likes musicians. Clearly they don't like people who rip them off.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 08:17 PM

I resent air travel. It raises taxes. Endangers the public. Pollutes the environment.
People who fly are selfish pigs
=(:-( P)


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Nov 12 - 11:06 PM

Having worked for nearly 50 years as an airplane designer, I don't ever fly in anything when there's any other choice.

(I also spent a half dozen years working on equipment for submarines, and you ain't gonna catch me in one of those tin cans for any reason.)

It's not mainly for doubts about safety, but I've always found air travel "uncomfortable and dehumanizing," and perhaps it's partly because I've known far to many airplane drivers (they're all insane - if you'll pardon the generalization - and present company is not excepted).

(I'd put a smiley face on this, of course, but smileys are almost as obnoxious - IMO - as airline agents.)

John


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Bert
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 02:02 AM

Ya know there is a certain level of stupidity that we need a new word for.

These airline executives come up with a frequent flier miles gimmick in an attempt to get more people to buy seats on Delta. So what happens when they get a passenger who buys twice as many seats as everyone else?

Of course smart executives would say, 'hey this is a perfect passenger we need to have more like him'; but what do Delta do? They punish him for buying the extra seat by not giving him the frequent flier miles which they themselves instituted for the sole purpose of getting people to buy more seats on Delta.

AS I said, there is a certain level of stupidity that we need a new word for.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 02:07 AM

I don't need to get no higher than pickin' cotton or no lower than diggin' taters.
No brag. Just fact.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 05:25 PM

...I don't know whether or not Delta likes musicians. Clearly they don't like people who rip them off.

It's all very well being self-righteous and legalistic, but the action Delta took could well backfire on them if the story gets widespread publicity as it's clear from the response here that many people feel their action was unreasonable and probably unfair.

There is the case of the airline who would not reimburse a musician for damage to his guitar. He wrote a song about it and put it on You Tube. The result was a dip in the number of people travelling on the airline in question, so whatever the rights and wrongs of the case and I don't think anyone is denying that Delta were entitled to take some action. It's just that the action they took seems disproportionate and I think all companies need to think carefully about what is a reasonable penalty in such cases.

Whether or not the rules are reasonable is another but not unrelated issue.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 06:07 PM

Tootler is referring to 'United Breaks Guitars' on YouTube. There was a thread on it recently, and some back-up video of baggage handling sent in by supporters.
One problem is that baggage handlers do not necessarily work for the airline, but are employed by the airport. Here, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 06:21 PM

It's the jet age: breakfast in London, lunch in New York, supper in San Francisco, baggage in Honolulu and guitar in pieces.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 07:00 PM

I will have to have a clearly detailed explanation as to just how Lynn Harrell is "ripping Delta off."

It looks to me like a clear case of Delta ripping off Lynn Harrell!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: banjoman
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 05:40 AM

Had several experiences with Delta over the years including loss of a banjo a suitcase and giving my reserved seat to someone else on the grounds that I had not turned up to claim it - I was actually sitting on the plane when the other passenger came on board.
I refer to the acronym DELTA which stands for:
Dont
Expect
Luggage
To
Arrive


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 08:41 AM

Airline miles are a gift. It's true that the miles are given for an economic reason, which is to encourage loyalty to the airline giving them, but they are still a gift.

If Delta doesn't wish to give miles to a cello, which is merely a kind of luggage, that's their right. It makes sense, too. The cello isn't going to decide to fly Delta in the future.
==-
Thanksgiving is coming, and I read in the paper that 24 million passengers are expected to fly somewhere for it. Can you imagine the pressures on all airline employees to accomplish that? And they almost certainly will.

It's amazing when you think about it.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Mark Ross
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 10:25 AM

As my old hobo friend Kuddie, The Feather River Kid says, "If God had wanted man to fly, our bones would be as hollow as our heads!"

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 02:01 PM

Okay, if I were Lynn Harrell I would simply fly another airline.

He PAYS for a seat for the cello, and for the vast majority of the flights he takes, he takes it with him. How is this any different--economically--to Delta than his flying with another person? And since he and the cello almost always fly together, it only makes sense that it should be granted "frequent flier miles," because it, too, is a "frequent flyer."

Just HOW does Delta lose? it doesn't!

The cello doesn't even eat the free macadamia nuts, nor does it use the airsick bags or barf on the flight attendant's shoes!

Delta is ripping off Lynn Harrell. Especially when they rescind HIS frequent flyer miles as well. He was deceiving NO ONE! Nor was he trying to cheat them.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 02:03 PM


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Genie
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 03:37 PM

Delta is entitled to have whatever rules they set for their frequent flyer program, and if it were clear that Harrell deliberately flouted those rules in an attempt to cheat, it would be fair for the airline to take away all of the cello's miles and some portion of Harrell's FF miles, or even all of them, as a penalty.   It's also 'fair' for an airline to refuse to insure musical instruments against damage or theft when they are checked, refuse them as carry-ons even when they fit in the overhead compartments, and then allow their baggage handlers to throw them around recklessly.

Fair? Sure, I guess. But is it good business practice? Are stories like this or the "United Breaks Guitars" story good publicity or marketing for the airline?

Delta couldn't really know that Harrell had received their "warning" letter. (He may or may not have, given that his secretary handled his business correspondence.)

But to treat him like some common criminal, after he had paid for two tickets every time he flew with the cello, and add the overkill of barring him permanently from their FF program, that's gross overkill and horrible customer relations.

I hope someone does put together a clever song about this and put it on YouTube!


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Subject: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Cellos
From: Genie
Date: 20 Nov 12 - 03:45 PM

Now that I think of it, does it make any sense that airlines give frequent flyer miles for many things besides passenger flights but hold fast against awarding miles for an instrument or corporation or luggage for which a full-fare ticket has been purchased?

They give frequent flyer miles for things such as:
~ some car rentals
~ some hotel stays
~ upgrades to first class or business class from coach
~ using certain credit cards for any kind of purchase

Those things are not actual human butts in the airplane seats either. They are expenditures of money in certain places or by certain means.   Why treat extra ticket purchases for non-humans any differently?


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 12:23 AM

because a non-human isn't going to say "I'm used to Delta and if I buy some more Delta tickets, I can soon get a free flight."

The free miles are about customer loyalty, and cellos cannot be loyal.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 01:55 AM

Well, one could say that the cello was almost exactly as loyal as Lynn Harrell, considering that, for most of his travel purposes (concert touring) the two were inseparable.

As it stands now, it looks like Delta just lost themselves two good paying customers, one of which made no demands or requests of the flight attendants, didn't have panic attacks while in a tin can at 35,000 feet, and didn't annoy the other passengers by chattering all the time.

And Delta KNEW that one of the two seats was occupied by a cello, not a person, even if their regulations may have required that the seat be booked in someone's name. And it was the travel agent who made the arrangements. If Delta was unhappy with the arrangement, they should have taken it up with THEM.

Not only did Delta screw Harrell out of the frequent flyer miles for the cello, but for HIM as well.

I think Delta did a dumb thing. It smells like sheer petty greed to me. For fifteen years Harrell has been strapping his cello in the other seat. Somebody MUST have noticed. But they squawk only after both Harrell and the insturment have earned a big wad of credit over the years!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 02:18 AM

Flying is for fools. People were never meant to fly.
=(:-( ))


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 02:03 PM

One airline that has taken note of threads like these is Australia's Quantas. They are instituting a policy that 'selected musicians' can carry one piece of baggage free on internal flights.
That's a step in the right direction, eh!

Probably not cellists or bassists, but smaller instruments maybe. Just a guess.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 02:34 PM

Sounds to me like Delta's trying to blame the guy for a problem they should have fixed. Passengers don't decide whether or not they get frequent flyer miles, Delta's computers do. If Delta sent the guy a letter in 2001, but didn't take the additional step of revoking "Cello Harrell's" frequent flyer status, it's their problem, not his. It's not his job to tell them his cello isn't a human, it's Delta's job to change their customer database to reflect that it's not a human. And now they're punishing him for their mistake.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 02:50 PM

I'm not so sure that someone at Delta "must have noticed". The part of the organisation dealing with air miles would probably have no way of knowing that the seat was not occupied by a person but by an instrument. The staff on board would probably have no way of knowing that the instrument was claiming air miles.

The travel agent may have set up the account, but it was done on Lynn Harrell's behalf and with his knowledge - if not originally, he then went along with it for years. He should have known that it was dodgy, or why go through the charade?

The simple fact is that he acted in bad faith over a period of many years in order to accrue considerable benefits to which he was not entitled. Half of "several hundred thousand air miles" have significant value, not just for flights but for other goods and services.   It is unsurprising that when he was caught he was penalised. To be honest, I'm surprised that anyone thinks his actions are defensible.

As for whether Delta's policies make good business practice, that's another question entirely. It does appear unfair that a full fare ticket should not attract all the benefits of another full fare ticket. My impression is that it's fairly standard throughout the airline industry but there appear to be some exceptions.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 03:56 PM

"He should have known that it was dodgy, or why go through the charade?"

Can't agree with that, Howard.

When Harrell's travel agent set the thing up, Harrell, and apparently the travel agent as well, undoubtedly assumed that there was no problem. And the fact that Harrell had been using Delta Airlines for some fifteen years and no one had said, "Boo!"

Should have known it was dodgy? He had every reason to assume that this was standard operating procedure.

When I had to buy a seat for my guitar, as I described above, the airline clerk offered me the option of paying a child's fare for the guitar, and the matter of possibly accruing frequent flyer miles never came up.

Suppose that now, some fifteen years later, the airline came to me and demanded that I make up the difference between a child's fare and full fare for the seat on the basis that my guitar was not actually a child?

It's a bit late now!

Since the thing had gone on so long, the intelligent thing for Delta to do would have been to contact the travel agent and inform them that "that's not the way in works," and in the spirit of good business relations, let the matter of frequent flyer miles for Harrell, at least, stand.

If he used them when going on concert tours for fifteen years, they made a helluva lot of money off him! Good customer. I wouldn't alienate him--and reap all the flak that they are now reaping!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 04:32 PM

Policy: (n) written statement or statements by lawyers and corporate executives which remove the onerous and occasionally dangerous task of thinking from employees.


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Subject: Delta Airlines revokes cello's FF miles
From: Genie
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 04:47 PM

@Howard Jones
You keep talking as though Harrell had accumulated thousands of FF miles for his cello at no cost to himself. He paid as much for those miles as if he had bought twice as many tickets for himself. And if both he and the cell had FF miles for Delta to revoke, it would seem he had not actually USED the cello's FF miles often, if at all. (People often don't use their FF miles for a trip because of the scheduling/itinerary restrictions on using them.)   Jones may have "accrued" many benefits via "Cello Harrell's" tickets, but it doesn't sound like he had been availing himself of them a lot.   
Again, if it's fair for you to get frequent flyer miles for buying clothing online using some particular credit card, why is it unreasonable for you to get FF miles for buying a full-fare airline ticket that isn't going to be used by a person?


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 05:26 PM

By the way:

Lynn Harrell and the offending instrument.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Tootler
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 07:58 PM

So Delta airlines send a letter in 2001 pointing out the rules about accruing airmiles.

They then wait eleven years before deciding to follow it up and then take somewhat draconian action.

Is that reasonable? Why didn't they follow the matter up at the time? It doesn't exactly look good for Delta Airlines whatever the strict legal situation.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 09:14 PM

If I may, I wish to clarify something: Howard has simply said that the terms under which Harrell joined that air miles program did not allow him to accrue air miles from buying a seat for his cello. Howard has not--that I've seen--addressed the issue of the fairness of the situation. He's simply said that under the 'contract' terms, Harrell has no right to those accrued air mile points. And in that regard Howard is correct.

As to the fairness of it all, most other people here have posed cogent questions.

IMO, the individual at Delta (or the air miles company) handled it the wrong way. As I said, "policy" means no one has to think. There is a reasonable middle ground in the situation. If Delta has the brains of yer average turnip, they'll attend to that. imo


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 10:11 PM

But as I understand it, this is not the impression that Harrell got from either his travel agent, OR the airline itself. He assumed that everything was according to Hoyle. Nobody bothered to tell him otherwise.

The airline claimed that they had sent him, not his travel agent who made his reservations, a letter several years ago, but he never received such a letter, and they continued to accept seat reservations for his cello.

Somebody screwed up somewhere, and it does not appear that it was Harrell.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 10:23 PM

Lynn Harrell's blog.

Plus comments.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Nov 12 - 10:39 PM

The difference between genius and stupidiy . . .

Were I interested in shit disturbing, I would suggest to Mr Harrell that he advise the world he'd like to see the points that were taken away be given to a charity instead of ostensibly enriching the coffers of Mr Delta.

Thanks for the heads up, Don.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 03:47 AM

To be clear, I entirely agree that Delta's terms are unfair, and perhaps unreasonable. But they are the terms he signed up to. Whether the travel agent did it at his instigation is beside the point - it was his responsibility to check the t&cs. I still think that having to set up an account in a false name should have rung some alarm bells - at least enough to make him check the t&cs. I'm fully prepared to believe it was through naivety rather than dishonest intent, but the outcome is the same, and he shouldn't be surprised to be penalised when the airline (eventually) caught up with him.

According to his blog he had redeemed the cello's air miles to fly the cello, so he did receive the benefit.

It's difficult to understand why Delta took so long to take action after it apparently came to their attention in 2001. I wonder whether a statute of limitation should apply?


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Haruo
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 04:52 AM

If Delta knew that the cello was a cello as long ago as 2001, it seems to me they should have canceled its Airmiles account then rather than waiting ten years. By now it looks to me like the cello has acquired personhood by on the analogy of common law marriage.


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 02:32 PM

I don't think Harrell was thinking in terms of deception when he named his cello "Cello Harrell." I tend to think it was more a bit of whimsey.

Check some of his stuff on YouTube, and it's obvious that he has a pretty good sense of humor.

I'm sure he did NOT know that there was any deception involved. If I book through a travek agent and the travel agent tells me that everything is hunky-dory, I generally feel safe in assuming that it is. Why would anyone reasonably question it?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 02:44 PM

"Check some of his stuff on YouTube, and it's obvious that he has a pretty good sense of humor."

Thanks to your link, Don, I checked out Harrell's cello playing--specifically some lessons he teaches on YouTube. Holy moley can he teach. I know from nothing about cello except I love its sound and what it can add to songs in almost any genre. I really understood after one ten minute lesson on YT what he does with one small aspect of cello playing, so much so that possibly I could explain it to a cellist. In the vernacular, WOW!


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 05:04 PM

one of the responses to Lynn Harrell's blog says. "There are innumerable activities I would rather be doing than waking up
knowing I have to get on an airplane with my cello. It has become that
treacherous. I'm surprised my endpin hasn't been pulled from my cello
and discarded. I'm sure you have taken note of what has happened to two
distinct violins in the Frankfurt airport…"

what happened to which " two distinct violins in the Frankfurt airport"?


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 05:11 PM

Philippa: it may be a reference to the following.

http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2012/10/breaking-german-customs-seize-a-second-violin-from-japanese-artist.html


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Subject: RE: Delta Airlines Doesn't Like Musicians
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Nov 12 - 09:51 AM

Another incident like Don's wheelchair story from 18 November:

BA breaks fencer's wheelchair


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