Student says she was kicked off American Airlines flight after buying seat for $30,000 cello

The cellist claims she was told her instrument was “too big” for the aircraft. Source: NBC 5

A cellist claims she was kicked off a flight despite paying for an extra seat for her $30,000 instrument.

Jingjing Hu, a DePaul University School of Music student, was trying to return to Chicago, Ill., on an American Airlines flight after performing at a music festival in Miami, Fla., when she was allegedly told her cello was too big for the aircraft, NBC 5 reports

Her husband Jay Tang said he was assured his wife wouldn’t have any issues with transporting the instrument on both legs of her journey. Musicians are allowed to carry oversize instruments in the cabin when they buy an extra seat under federal regulations.

“I purchased two round-trip tickets for her and her cello on April 2 on the phone directly from AA and told them specifically that one ticket is for the cello as cabin baggage,” Tang wrote on Facebook“I was told it is absolutely allowed and she won’t have any problem.”

Hu did not encounter any difficulties taking the cello on the first leg of her trip. However, on her return journey, she had boarded the plane and been given a strap to secure her cello before being told she had to disembark.

“You had so many chances to tell me ‘you cannot board’ yesterday,” the music student told NBC 5. “You never told me until I sat down.”

A screenshot shared by Jay Tang of a response he says he received from American Airlines online. (Photo: Jay Tang/ Facebook)

The airline said there was a “miscommunication” about if the cello met the requirements to be allowed on the plane she had boarded, which was said to be a Boeing 737.

An American Airlines statement said she was rebooked on a larger plane, a Boeing 767, the following morning.

“We provided her a hotel and meal accommodations for the inconvenience. We apologise for the misunderstanding and customer relations has reached out to her,” the statement read. 

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