Traveling with a Guitar on Delta Airlines

After a grueling eight-hour layover in Atlanta, my guitar and I finally boarded the last plane of the night. After scanning my ticket, Delta Lady #1 ran down the jetway to give me a ticket to place on my guitar.

I told her that my plan was to place the guitar in the closet in the front of the plane. I have traveled with my guitars on dozens of segments on multiple airlines and aircraft without incident. There has always been space in the small closet in the front of the plane or in the overhead bins. In retrospect, I regret not accepting the ticket.

I entered the plane and asked about placing the guitar in the closet, and Delta Lady #2 said that the closet might be full and was reserved for first class. My only option was to place the guitar in the overhead bins. I did not argue and continued to my seat.

Near my seat, there was an empty overhead bin, and I lifted my guitar. Delta Lady #3 said it would not fit, and guitars were not allowed in the overhead bins. Unfortunately, she approached to block me from placing the guitar. I reacted poorly, and continued stowing the guitar. I quickly learned that Delta Lady #3 was correct and Delta Lady #2 was incorrect, the guitar did not fit in the overhead bin.

The situation was escalating which made me uncomfortable. Delta Lady #3 provoked with “How would you feel if someone told you how to do your job?” and “I can get you thrown off the plane.” I ignored the taunts. Another passenger swore at me, and I kept quiet. I started back up the aisle with the guitar, and Delta Lady #2 was approaching, so I gave her the guitar, and sat down at my assigned seat.

A few minutes passed, and Delta Man #1 approached and gave me the ticket for the guitar. Later Delta Man #1 approached me, and gave me an OK sign. A few more minutes passed, and Delta Man #1 returned and told me that I had to leave the airplane.

In the jetway, Delta Man #1 explained that Delta Lady #3 would explain what happened, and that I needed to apologize. She recited her version of events and stated that I failed to obey her instructions. I did not tell her that her instructions differed from Delta Lady #2. I complied and apologized. She did not feel that the apology was adequate and had me thrown off the plane.