How to lose more friends and followers


A post-crash fire contributed to the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 tragedy at San Francisco Airport in which two passengers died and many were hurt. Just days later Boeing's state-of-the-art 787 suffered a less serious fire at Heathrow airport. So time to restate my unpopular views on allowing bulky musical instruments into the cabins of passenger jets. As I have said before, I have every sympathy with musicians whose livelihood is threatened by restrictions on taking fragile and valuable instruments into plane cabins. It is a problem that must be solved, but the solution is not to plead that musicians are a special case and should be exempt from eminently sensible safety regulations. Seat belts are designed to restrain humans, not cellos. Which means in an emergency a cello may become a projectile that at the best blocks an emergency exit, and at the worst kills someone. When flying to Egypt a few weeks ago a ridiculously oversize bag - not musical instrument - was allowed into the cabin of our Boeing 757 by lax ground staff at Gatwick airport. This simply reinforced my gloomy prediction that in the near future bulky cabin baggage causing obstructions will contribute to an avoidable aircraft tragedy, as inevitably will the proposed relaxation of the ban on passengers using electronic equipment during take-off and landing. More on my personal experience of this topic here.

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