HOUSTON, TX (WMC) - A violinist who played with Memphis Symphony Orchestra claims she was attacked by a United Airlines employee for trying to bring her instrument on board a plane.
Yennifer Correia, who makes a living playing her violin, says a supervisor at the United ticket counter at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX, struck a sour note.
Correia wanted to carry her precious violin onto the plane for her flight to St. Louis. She said the violin is hundreds of years old and is worth tens of thousands of dollars.
"After I did that, they told me that I had to pay $50 to check in the instrument. So I told them, that's not what I'm looking for," she said. "She was rude from the beginning saying these are the rules. All you can take with you are some personal item on the plane. And the instrument is too big and it's not going to fit."
A federal law state that any musician can take an instrument on board an airplane as a carry-on item.
When she asked for the supervisor's name, Correia said that supervisor tried to remove the airline luggage tag and attempted to get Correia's name as well.
"She proceeded to throw herself on top of my suitcase, so she could take the rest of the sticker from my suitcase," Correia said. "At this point, we're both struggling, pulling the suitcase, and I'm trying to get her not to take the sticker from me."
United Airlines responded to the incident, "We're disappointed any time a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation." The airline also promised to reach out to Correia who said the confrontation finally ended with the supervisor threatening to call security, then walking away.
Correia was supposed to fly to St. Louis on Sunday to join the Missouri Symphony Orchestra for the summer season. She missed the flight and made other arrangements to fly to St. Louis on a different airline.