A world-renowned musician has been stripped of several hundred thousand frequent flyer miles when an airline realised he’d been collecting miles for his cello.
American cellist Lynn Harrell travels the world extensively to perform and has always bought a second seat for his valuable instrument which is too delicate to be checked into the hold.
Fifteen years ago his travel agent set up a separate SkyMiles account with Delta Air Lines under the name Cello Harrell.
He collected miles for the cello for more than 10 years without incident, but was stunned to be booted off the programme earlier this year with just one terse letter as explanation.
“It has come to our attention that you have continued to earn miles for your cello even after you were advised in 2001 that this was not permitted,” the letter reads.
Harrell maintains the letter must have been misplaced or not drawn to his attention by his secretary, who handles his correspondence.
The letter informed Harrell that both SkyMiles accounts had been closed and several hundred thousand frequent flier miles were lost. The musician was also forbidden from opening a new account with the airline.
Harrell says the letter came “absolutely out of the blue”.
“They could have just simply taken the miles away from the cello and be done with that.”
The carrier’s terms and conditions do state that mileage can not be earned for tickets bought for excess luggage “such as musical instruments”.