Musician claims United supervisor attempted to take her violin during check-in

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Yennifer Correia makes music on her violin.

She said a supervisor at the United Airlines ticket counter at Bush Airport struck a sour note.

“They told me that I had to pay $50 to check in the instrument. I told them, that's not what I'm looking for," Correia said.

Correia said she wanted to carry her precious violin onto the plane for her flight to St. Louis, from Houston, for work. She said it's hundreds of years old and is worth tens of thousands of dollars.

She said the supervisor told her no.

"She was rude from the beginning saying these are the rules. All you can take with you are some personal items on the plane. And the instrument is too big and it's not going to fit," Correia said.

She said when she asked for the supervisor’s full name, the supervisor tried to remove the airline luggage tag from Correia’s luggage attempting 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. At this point, we're both struggling -- pulling the suitcase -- and I'm trying to get her not to take the sticker from me," Correia said.

Federal law requires airlines to allow musicians to take instruments on board as carry-on luggage.

United released a statement to KPRC 2. It said, “We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation. We are reaching out to Ms. Correia to gain a better understanding of what occurred and to offer assistance.”

Correia said the incident ended with the supervisor threatening to call airport security, then simply walking away.

"I start screaming, ‘Help, help, help, can somebody record what's happening because this lady's trying to take my personal suitcase from me,’" Correia said.

Correia was supposed to have flown out Sunday to join the Missouri Symphony Orchestra to play for the summer season.

She said she will now fly to St. Louis on Tuesday on board another air carrier.

"What I want the airlines to understand is musicians, we need the instruments to make a living. We depend on our instruments to make a living," Correia said.

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