Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond

British Airways wrecked my bass :(

December 18th, 2008 | No Comments | Categories: Random Catchup · Rant - Politics, Spirituality, etc. · travel |

So, we’ve arrived in Ohio, hanging out with Lobelia’s family.

We flew into Newark airport at the weekend, with British Airways, the plane was very late taking off, late getting into the airport, and we took ages getting through immigration. As a result, I was exhausted and didn’t check my bass out at the airport, cos the case looked fine.

Fast forward to this morning, and this is what greeted me –

Weird thing is, it's still in tune & plays OK - here's the cr... on TwitPic Here's the jack socket. All smashed up. on TwitPic

yup, proper smashed up. A crack from the end of the neck to the jack socket, right through the top. Yes, I was proper shocked. Shocked to the point of zen-like calm initially, which morphed into post-shock shaking pretty quickly.

This is the bass I’ve played for nearly 10 years. It’s unique. it’s perfect. It is, without a doubt, my favourite instrument I’ve ever played, seen or dreamt about.

And British Airways have destroyed it. So I started the process of getting in touch with them. Called the US number on the site ‘file a claim when you get home’… er, no, I’m here til the end of January ‘OK file the claim on the website’. Filled in the website form. got an email back,

” sorry your guitar is broken, please send us your fragile take and bubble wrap receipt.
Fenil Krishikar
British Airways Customer Relations”

So I write back “huh? Bubble Wrap receipt? what use is that? It was in a CASE. A case that has flown round the world dozens of times.”

My guess at this stage is that the bubble wrap and fragile tag bits are basically entrapment – they have clauses in their insurance terms that exclude them from liability if your bass doesn’t have bubble wrap on. Was this mentioned to me at the airport? nope. Did I sign a waiver of liability? of course not.

So we’ll see what happens, whether BA do the right thing, pay up, and help me get it fixed. Or if they don’t, we’ll get to work with the email and phone calls, right team?

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No Comments so far ↓

  • Lee


    Really sorry to hear that mate, what a nice bass 🙁

    Just got back to my car to find it’s been vandalized. My flip camera and sat nav gone and the dash board is knackard (glove box was locked with the stuff in it), they took some of my sons toys as well.

    I had my fav bass stolen two years ago (also like you I played it for 10 years) and I still get upset/mad when I think about it.

    I expect BA will do the right thing, especially as it was cased.

    Hope it works out.

  • Lau

    Bubble wrap receipt? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Not once in all the airports I visited this summer did anyone mention wrapping the guitars in bubble wrap – what a silly notion. Don’t worry, we’ll sort the bastards out if they don’t do the right thing. Hope you can still play it/find another to play for your shows. xx

  • Miriam Jones

    “please send us your fragile take and bubble wrap receipt.” – what is that, sarcasm? You’ve got to be joking.

  • Ghiadub

    Steve, sorry to hear about your bass.

    If they do not make it right, let me know and we can hit them en mass. Also, it is about time Modulus sponsored you, what better time to hit them up?


  • Brian Sharples


    I’m very sorry to that happened. How did they manage to smash it through a case!?

    Don’t let customer no-service give you the runaround. Move up the food chain as far as you need to go.

    Good luck!

  • richardh

    Nooooooooooo! Really sorry to hear this Steve – how ON EARTH did they manage that much destruction?????

  • Jennifer

    Oh no!

    ::pang of empathy::

    What a sad event.

    No way it can be rebuilt then?

  • Kevin


    I share the gut wrenching shock of finding your instrument in a state of distress as it’s become part of the joyous misery of owning a double bass. My sincere sympathy, what can one say other than look down, turn your palms towards you, wiggle your fingers, say hello and pray to st django.


  • Brittany


    I am so sorry. My gut sinks in empathy with yours.

    And worse yet is that whole “fragile take and bubble wrap receipt”. Sarcasm? More like further insult to injury.

    Keep us posted, and I hope your shows go smoothly.

    – Brittany

  • Otir

    Yesterday, when I saw the tweets about the predicament and the bad news, I felt horribly bad.

    I had no time to jot a tweet back, and thought you were busy enough with calling BA and insurers, and getting the story out of your shock at first.

    I felt bad the more so that the very morning, I was on the roads doing my usual business and I had my virtual friends in mind as I often have (don’t ask – I also think of my family, everyone is on the same page in my thoughts!) and believe me or not that time came to my mind how I had started to interact with some of them, and the story that popped in my memories was when Lobelia had witnessed her guitar being smashed at the airport (that’s how I remember the story at least).

    And how I had written her, because I felt her pain and dismay so much.

    And what do I find when I get home? news that you discovered that your bass was cracked and destroyed after your flight… Sometimes I wish I could shut my thoughts up so that I don’t have the childish sorrow that they did some bad to the universe!

    Just to let you know (on top of the story) that you are in my thoughts, that there is little I can do but support you in your wrath and be sure you will get it repaired. We are all rallying behind you so that your case can prevail. Lots of love.

  • Sam

    That’s harsh, man.

    The silver lining is that NAMM’s soon, what better excuse?!

    Hope you get it sorted mate.

    All the best

  • Flying With A Bass

    […] Steve Lawson isn’t a very happy man right now, from his blog: “British Airways wrecked my bass :(”. The baggage handlers at one of the airports on his tour did a serious mischief to his much loved […]

  • drek

    ouch! Sorry to hear about this… I unfortunately had major damage to my Modulus Quantum 6 many years ago (dropped on hard tile floor in only a gig bag) It landed right on the output jack and crushed the electronics cavity…. I had an expert luthier repair it though and it’s barely visible even years later. You never know what a good repair person can do. Funny thing is… even crushed like that… I still managed to do the gig!

  • Bass News » Bass im Flugzeug?

    […] Steve Lawson hat leider eine schlechte Erfahrung damit gemacht. Wir können daraus etwas lernen. Nach einem Flug mit British Airways vergass er in der Hektik, seinen Bass – das in einem Case als Gepäck aufgegeben wurde – nach dem Empfang sofort zu kontrollieren. Erst am nächsten Tag bemerkte er den Schaden. Der Kundendienst von British Airways verlangt erst mal einen Beweis für die “Bubble Wrap”-Verpackung, die der Bass aber nicht hatte – er war ja in einem Case. […]

  • Tony Chopp

    I don’t think bubble wrap would’ve cut it here:

    This is the site I saw in baggage claim office after getting back to CA from a holiday trip to see my family in Michigan.

    Just happened earlier this week…I was so bummed.

    But the airline paid for it…and quickly too I might add.

  • steve

    Tony, that’s horrendous. Beyond Horrendous.

    Really glad you got paid, but I still hate the idea that a ‘new’ guitar is a straight replacement for an old played-in one with mojo… not the same thing at all… I’d rather they just didn’t break shit at all…

  • John Ciriani

    Sorry to hear about your bass. I cannot imagine how you felt. It must be similar to a berevement. And to be asked by BA for the bubble wrap receipt!
    Wow- a BA cheek.
    Keep up the good work and I hope it gets as sorted as it can be.
    Best Regards