As reported on Slipped Disc this morning, there was a near disaster for The Kremerata Baltica who were flying on Air Canada to Toronto from Newark airport for a concert in Toronto last Saturday. They were scheduled to perform at Koerner Hall with renowned violinist Gidon Kremer at 8 p.m. The show eventually went off without a hitch, but the same could not be said of the process of getting there. According to The Royal Conservatory’s Executive Director, Mervon Mehta, it was just in the nick of time, no thanks to Air Canada.
In a phone interview, Mehta explained that it was a clear case of an over-zealous Air Canada employee who made a last-minute executive decision to pull a cello from a plane, putting an entire concert in jeopardy.
Mehta, who was updated on the unfolding situation by Kremerata Baltica’s tour manager, said “They were all set to travel with four cellos, each with their own seats. They followed all the rules, gone through all the paperwork, paid for the seats, and confirmed everything, only for the person at the desk, to say “no – not doing it,” Mehta recalled.
They managed to split up the cellos, with the fourth one arriving in Toronto at 6:30 p.m.
“So it just made it to the concert in time, with a half an hour to spare — and was all totally arbitrary,” Mehta said.
This all comes after Air Canada overhauled their Instrument Policy, standardizing the process with the aim of eliminating doubt in what instruments they will and won’t accept on a plane.
Air Canada offers a special 50% discount fare for those who must purchase a seat for larger instruments such as cellos double basses. What the policy does not mention is how many they will accept on a plane at one time.
The Kremerata Baltica had a performance the day after their Toronto stop in Quebec City and were scheduled to fly Air Canada. We hope they made it.