Man booted off American Airlines flight due to cello causing a safety risk

Oliver Gill
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The musical instrument created a safety risk, on-board staff said (Source: Getty)

Going abroad and taking a musical instrument? It may be worth taking heed from the experience of one musician.

John Kaboff was removed from an American Airlines from Washington's Regan National airport to Chicago O'Hare earlier this week after a bizarre disagreement with cabin crew and the pilot, according to local news reports.

The musician had paid for an extra seat so he could bring his $100,000 (£80,000) instrument on board with him.

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However, the problem was that Kaboff's cello was touching the floor, posing a safety risk. When he asked for an extension strap to secure it into the seat, he was denied.

"I was mortified to have to be removed from a flight, like I just committed a crime," the 46-year-old told ABC7.

Either I could voluntarily leave, or I could be removed from the airplane.

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Kaboff, who hails from Vienna but lives in the US, spoke with ground service staff after the incident who were quick to acknowledge the error and got him onto the next flight, the same type of aircraft, a 737.

An American Airlines spokesperson said: "We're reviewing the issue internally and apologise to Mr. Kaboff for any inconvenience he experienced today. Mr. Kaboff and his musical instrument were accommodated on the next flight to Chicago, and our customer relations team will be reaching out to him directly."

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