Woman kicked off flight after buying an extra seat for her cello


A cellist claims she was booted from a plane shortly before take-off despite buying one ticket for her and another for her instrument.

Jingjing Hu, a DePaul University School of Music student, had been trying to return to Chicago on an American Airlines flight after performing at a music festival in Miami when she was allegedly told her cello, worth about $AU40,000, was too big for the aircraft, NBC 5 reports. 

Her husband Jay Tang claims he was assured his wife wouldn’t have any issues with transporting the instrument on both legs of her journey.  

“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,” he wrote online.

“I was told it is absolutely allowed and she won’t have any problem.”

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

In the US musicians are allowed to carry oversize instruments in the cabin when they buy an extra seat under federal regulations, NBC 5 reports.

The musician did not encounter any difficulties taking the cello on the trip from Chicago to Miami.

Jingjing Hu claims on the return journey she had boarded the plane and been given a strap to secure her cello – even though it was a smaller plane – 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. Source: Jay Tang/ Facebook

The airline said there as 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.