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Ed Driscoll

Careful With That Axe, Eugene

January 4th, 2013 - 10:11 pm

I’ve only flown with a guitar a few times, and if I’m remembering correctly, each time I was allowed to carry my axe onboard. I was lucky:

It was a musician’s worst nightmare.

At least that’s how Dave Schneider, guitarist and singer for Hanukkah-themed rock band The LeeVees, described it when his guitar—a 1965 Gibson ES-335—got jammed in an elevator by baggage handlers at a Detroit airport.

Schneider was traveling with fellow LeeVees guitarist Adam Gardner from Portland, Maine, to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a gig last month at a conservative temple when their flight was diverted to Rochester, N.Y., due to bad weather, causing them to miss their connection in Philadelphia, Pa. They then drove to Buffalo, N.Y., to hop on a plane destined for Detroit, Mich., where they planned to make a connecting flight to Tampa, Fla.

While boarding in Buffalo, Schneider says he asked Delta staffers not to check in the vintage guitar—which he estimates is worth about $10,000—and allow him to carry it on the plane and place it in an available space, as he did on the flight from Portland.

“I’ve always carried it on,” Schneider, who also tours as the lead singer of the hockey-themed rock group the Zambonis, told Yahoo News. “Never been a problem before.”

Schneider says he even showed them a link to a story about Congress passing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that made it easier for musicians to fly with their instruments—allowing them to purchase an extra seat on the plane for their fragile instruments.

But he was denied.

When their plane landed in Detroit, Schneider says, “I had a bad feeling.” He whipped out his iPhone and started filming.

The tacit reference to Star Wars’ trash-compactor scene certainly seems appropriate here:

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