Pensioner thrown off plane for refusing to put bagpipes in hold

A world champion piper was thrown off a Ryanair flight for refusing to put her bagpipes in the hold.

A piper was thrown off a flight after trying to put bagpipes on as hand luggage. Picture; Neil Hanna
A piper was thrown off a flight after trying to put bagpipes on as hand luggage. Picture; Neil Hanna

Jennifer Hutcheon, from Bridge of Earn, near Perth, was returning from Belgium after playing a lament to her grandfather 100 years to the day after his death.

However, she was escorted by armed police officers and soldiers after trying to carry her pipes on board a plane as hand luggage at Charleroi Airport.

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As a result, she had to spend the night sleeping at the airport before catching another flight the next day.

On the subsequent flight Jennifer was able to take her pipes on board as hand luggage without any problem, with the 67-year-old saying that staff “couldn’t have been nicer” on that occasion.

Speaking to the Daily Record she said: “I couldn’t believe what was happening to me.

“The local Ryanair crew member completely went overboard when I refused to let him take my bagpipes and I removed a sticker he put on my bag – he turned into Bonaparte.

“The next thing is that two police officers and two soldiers with big guns are telling me to leave the queue and they marched me across the airport to some offices.

“I was then led out to an exit and told to go on my way.”

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Jennifer paid tribute at the graveside of her grandfather to mark the exact time he died on July 7, 1917. She said: “It was very emotional for me. The last time I visited his grave I only had a practice chanter and I promised I’d return one day with the full set.

“I played a lovely piece called the First Variation of Macintosh’s Lament.

“I then went on to the Menin Gate at Ypres and played Flowers of the Forest for all the people there.

“It was a lovely, but hugely emotional, trip for us that has now been completely ruined by this man’s actions.

“I don’t want anyone else to be treated like that ever again.”

A spokesman for Ryanair said: “This customer was one of the last to board the aircraft and, in line with our cabin baggage policy, was asked to place her bag in the hold as the overhead lockers were full, but refused and became disruptive.

“Local police were called and removed the individual from the terminal.

“The safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority and we will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time.

“This now a matter for local police.”