There are countless stories of musicians having trouble getting their instruments on airplanes. Even though the American Federation of Musicians’ has helped make it legal and easier for musicians to carry on their instruments, the stories continue.
While I have a relatively small instrument that fits in the smallest of commuter jet’s overhead compartments, I still get hassled now and then.
“You’re going to have to gate check that,” and “Whose violin is this?! I can’t fit my roller bag in the overhead!” have become my monthly norms as I travel for my living as a professional violinist.
Upon reading The New Yorker’s article by Patricia Marx about society’s latest craze of designating people’s pets as Emotional Support Animals (ESA) I was astounded how easy one could go about acquiring the proper documentation.
Marx shared her own experiences of taking a turtle, alpaca, snake, pig, and a turkey through various places, including restaurants, museums, and airplanes. The pig got the airplane ride.
While the article was hilarious, the more I thought about it the angrier I got. How is it that what I need to take with me for a living, (and yes the violin pays the bills which keeps me emotionally supported) gets trumped by a pig?
The hypothetical side of me started asking the questions. What if I had an Emotional Support Animal that lived in my violin case? Or What if my Emotional Support Animal could wear a vest that would happen to hold my violin case?
Maybe a chinchilla would be awesome; it could be tucked in my violin case’s music pocket. Its dual purpose of ESA would help get the violin on board with my emotions calmed, and then it could serve as my adorable hand warmer. Or how about a hermit crab? It could cozy up next to my rosin in the small compartment of my case. Or maybe I really do need a pig. I could put a big vest on the pig which would have compartments for my violin on one side and clothes on the other. That way, my luggage wouldn’t get lost either.
Or the extreme, “Hi, I am taking the violin on board, it will go in the overhead just fine. You should know my Emotional-Support Animal, my tarantula Trina, lives in the case. She keeps me calm and I have a letter to prove I need her. I’d be happy to open the case to let you see Trina and her adorable ESA vest she sports, or you can let me carry my already approved violin and case on board without further discussion.”
I don’t want to go the spider route, but as I see people taking every other kind of animal on my jet commuter flights, I might just start shopping in earnest. And if I do get an ESA, I’m buying a Go-Pro camera to capture every awesome moment.