Myrna Herzog was traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Tel Aviv, Israel when she was allegedly forced to place her large 17th century viola da gamba in the hold for her Alitalia flight.
Herzog, the director of Israeli classical music group Phoenix, says she reluctantly handed it over only after she was unable to purchase a seat for the instrument, which is slightly smaller than a cello, because the flight was full. A viola da gamba, also known as a viol, is a string instrument played upright, similar to a cello.
The woman claimed the airline assured her that the instrument, valued at over $200,000, would be treated as a fragile item and handled with care by the staff.
When the Brazilian-born musician landed in Tel Aviv, her viol never appeared in baggage claim. Herzog says she went to the baggage reclaim desk to find out what happened.