Musician refused boarding on flight as cello 'needed visa'

Woman missed her BA flight as visa required for cello

Updated: 

Musician refused boarding on flight as cello 'needed visa'

A musician has said missed her British Airways flight - because her cello needed a visa to travel in the extra seat she'd booked for it.

Jane Bevan, 35, was trying to board a flight from Zurich to Baltimore when complications arose at check-in and she was told by staff that her cello needed a US ESTA travel visa.

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She booked on GoToGate, and booked a seat for the instrument under 'Chuck Cello'. The operator told her to call BA about the cello, which she did around a month before flying and was told it was fine.

Speaking to the Independent, she explained: "When I arrived at the airport I was told by a BA steward there was a problem with the booking.

"I waited for half an hour while she spoke with her supervisor and was then told the check-in for the extra seat could not be completed because the system needed an ESTA visa."

Jane then missed her flight and had to fly out the next day on a United Airlines service.

She added: "I had no problems with United Airline. The staff were very friendly and even offered to put my cello in first class."

According to ITV News, BA said in a statement: "This was a highly unusual incident which arose after the customer booked a seat for her cello as a named passenger.

"This is what triggered the requirement for an ESTA from the US government. The ticket the customer booked through a third party website was non-refundable."

Ms Bevan said she was used to speaking to supervisors about the cello before boarding flights but had "never experienced anything like this before".


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