Hark! An airline has done the right thing! It should be noted, I've been flying with my horn for over a decade now, and I've only had one problem ever with an airline. I've been using a Marcus Bona case that has protected myself from my horn on multiple occasions. I fly American Airlines whenever possible. They have been good to me over the many years I have been flying, and have made a life long customer out of me over this story. I'm only writing this now since I'm far enough removed to be a bit more objective.
Back in June I was flying back from Iowa, checking Mahler 3 off the bucket list. As in many a case on puddle jumpers (small regional airplanes) my case won't fit in the overhead compartment. No biggie, horn gets gate checked, and I've never had a problem in 13 years of gate checking. Was disembarking in ORD to catch my flight to SFO, and my horn was the last thing up the conveyer. Horn gets 15 feet up said conveyer, and falls off. Both the gate agent and flight agent are standing next to me, and I confirm we all just saw what happened. Horn gets walked up the stairs to me, and I open up the case, expecting the smurfs to have been released from the spell I used to trap them in the horn so many years ago. But instead I was greeted with this:
So, I wasn't happy. Spoke with gate agent who took down my complaint and gave me the number so I could finish filing upon landing in SFO. Fun fact, you can't technically file a complaint until at your final destination, but with some manners you can have one started so all the fresh details can be written down at the time of incident.
Anyways, so after filing the complaint in SFO I then receive a number I can call during regular business hours to resolve the claim. I do that the next morning and have a wonderful agent to speak with that is very helpful. Since the report had been started in ORD there was a wealth of information that had many of the answers to questions the agent needed. Fun fact, only instruments gate checked are eligible for compensation for damage. Checked baggage does not qualify. After speaking with the agent and confirming what it would cost to repair the bell and the cost of a replacement, my claim was approved. The only hitch is I had to send an invoice to be reimbursed, so I was out the money up front to repair.
So I took my horn to my repair guy Aaron Folmz at Bridgepoint Music, and he looks at it with serious skepticism, but gives me a quote and said he'll call me if it can't be repaired. A week later, I have my horn back, playing wonderfully, just in time for me to board another American Airlines flight back to Iowa to go teach for a week. I get back home to San Francisco a couple weeks later and there's check in the mail from American Airlines for the repair. Case closed.
So, American Airlines has done a good thing for musicians. I implore folks to share this message so we can have a good story out there amidst all the nightmare inducing airline stories.