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We’ve all been there: You dash onto your flight just as the gate agent is ready to close the door. There’s a rush of relief until you remember that you still need to find overhead bin space. More panic, especially if you’re Giora Schmidt, an award-winning violinist, on a recent Delta flight to Cincinnati.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, Schmidt plays an 1803 Giuseppe Rocca violin. Instruments from this Italian maker can sell for more than $250,000. In an interview with Classic FM Schmidt said, “Rather than start negotiating with each passenger, I signaled to the flight attendant to see if she might be able to assist. I informed her that my violin was an Italian ‘antique’ that I used professionally and putting it [in the hold] was non-negotiable.”
Most of us would think telling a flight attendant that something was “non-negotiable” would lead to an abrupt end to our trip. But the Delta flight attendant took it all in stride, telling Schmidt that if he would put on a concert, she would find him space in the overhead bin. Schmidt agreed, assuming the flight attendant was joking. She wasn’t.
She immediately announced to the entire plane that they had a international concert violinist on the flight and asked if one or two passengers would be willing to move some of their overhead items to the space under the seat in front of them in exchange for an inflight concert. Passengers were more than willing to make space. It also turns out the FA was a classical music lover, which was good news for Schmidt. Other musicians haven’t been as lucky when it comes to flying with their prized instruments.
Delta Airlines told TPG via email “We were impressed and send our thanks to Giora for the impromptu concert. Delta is appreciative of the time he took to share his talents with fellow customers.”
A rep for Schmidt shared the following with TPG about the violinist’s experience: “This was an absolute first for me. I couldn’t believe how much the passengers appreciated it — filming on their phones, and with a huge round of applause at the end.”
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Featured Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG.
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