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Published on : Saturday, August 13, 2016
Jane Bevan, 35, based in Switzerland was boarding from Zurich to Baltimore. She was travelling to attend the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, however was stopped at check-in and told she needed a USA ESTA travel visa for her cello.
She had booked a seat for both herself and the cello using a flight comparison website GoToGate, which showed the best value options. She said she informed GoToGate about the instrument, which was booked in its own seat under the name “Chuck Cello”, who told her to contact BA directly about the booking.
She said she informed GoToGate about the instrument, which was booked in its own seat under the name “Chuck Cello”, who told her to contact BA directly about the booking. She had contacted BA about a month before the flight and spoke to the airline about the customer service agent in one of their call centres. They informed her that the second seat booked for the cello followed airline policy, and that there would be no problem to check-in.
However, the story took a different turn after reaching airport. She had to wait for half an hour while there were some complications with the extra seat. They said that the system needed an ESTA visa for her to travel with her cello. She spoke to GoToGate, but they repeated that it was something for BA to solve directly.
Unfortunately, she had to wait for 2.5 hours in the airport after which she was told that the flight had closed, but could rebook the flights at a cost of CHF 4,592.80 (£3,600). The passenger said that she did not receive any compensation from British Airways and instead flew out the following day with American-based United Airlines who offered her flights at half the piece quoted by British Airways.