American Airlines booted a DePaul University music student after she tried flying home with her instrument in tow.
As USA Today reported, the student, Jingjing Hu, bought a second seat on her flight home to Chicago for her $30,000 cello. American Airlines asked her to leave the plane because the airline was too small for the instrument.
Her story gained attention after Jay Tang, the musician's husband, wrote a Facebook post that detailed how his wife was removed from the plane. He said Hu flew from Chicago to Miami without any problems.
On the flight home, however, Hu faced major problems. She reportedly arrived at the airport three hours early. She checked in, went through security and boarded the flight as usual, having already booked a second seat for her instrument.
"Just before the flight attendants were about to close the gate, she was told to get off the plane because 'the aircraft is too small for the cello,'" Tang wrote.
"My wife could have been told those regulations when flying from Chicago to Miami, at check-in counter in Miami International Airport, at the gate or even when boarding the plane," Tang wrote on Facebook. "Yet they chose to kick her out last minute after she was seated and her cello safely secured. They even need law enforcement involved. What a shame."
According to the New York Post, the airline's policy states instruments must weigh less than 165 pounds. Hu said her cello weighed less than 10 pounds, meaning she didn't violate the policy.
Hu was told she could take a flight an hour later. However, a scuffle happened since the cello bumped into a pilot as she was leaving the plane.
Hu returned to Chicago a day later. She accidentally traveled to the wrong Holiday Inn on her night in Miami, too, according to CBS Chicago.
American Airlines confirmed the incident to USA Today.
"A passenger on Flight 2457 from Miami to Chicago was traveling with her cello," American spokesman Matt Miller said to USA Today. "Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication about whether the cello she was traveling with met the requirements to fit onboard the particular aircraft she was flying, a Boeing 737.
"We rebooked our passenger on a flight the next morning on a larger aircraft, a Boeing 767. We provided her a hotel and meal accommodations for the inconvenience. We apologize for the misunderstanding and customer relations has reached out to her," Miller added.
Hu said she wants a sincere apology, according to the Post.
"You had so many chances to tell me 'you cannot board,'" she said. "You never told me until I sat down."
According to the South China Morning Post, American Airlines removed another musician, John Kaboff, from a flight from Washington to Chicago, despite having bought a separate seat for his cello.
Kaboff received a full refund and another ticket for his next flight.