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Sheku Kanneh-Mason Denied Entry on British Airways

By Sara Schabas on September 25, 2023

Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Photo courtesy of the artists

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason was refused boarding despite having bought a separate ticket for his instrument.

What’s going on?: Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the cellist who famously performed at the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was denied entry from a British Airways flight with his cello. Kanneh-Mason had purchased two tickets for the flight–one for his cello, one for himself–yet was told at the gate he could not board with no compensation offered. Kanneh-Mason has since publicly complained on social media to the airline, prompting widespread outcry on X (the social media site formerly known as Twitter).

Who is Kanneh-Mason again?: Sheku Kanneh-Mason is a 24-year-old cellist who rose to prominence when he became the first Black musician to win the BBC Young Musician Award in 2014. In 2019, he played for an audience of 2 billion at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Why does it matter?: Musicians are often subject to inconsistent airline policies regarding instruments. The cellist Steven Isserlis has often complained of similar treatment by airlines as well as the violist Rachel Bolt, who in 2017 had a stand-off with the Dutch airline KLM.

Sara Schabas
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