EASYJET has apologised to Scottish band The Red Hot Chilli Pipers after ground staff ran over the guitarist’s prized instrument.
Nick Hawryliw branded the budget airline “a shower of b*******” after bungling baggage handlers crushed his precious Fender Telecaster.
It’s not the first time Nick and the band have suffered at the hands of airline employees. British Airways were accused of losing the Chilli Piper’s gear in June.
Nick’s telecaster was backed over by a baggage truck at Edinburgh Airport on July 5 as the band flew to Milan to headline the Celtica Music Festival in Aosta.
Nick said the £2000 was ”completely destroyed” when it arrived at Milan airport in a smashed case.
As well as forking out £600 for repairs he had to pay another £500 to get a replacement guitar for the gig.
After arguing with airport staff in Italy the band learned that the damage had happened on the runway in Edinburgh, but no-one had thought to tell them.
A picture of the damaged case was posted on Facebook by the band.
The caption read:”Nick’s prized USA Fender Telecaster arrived in Milan airport completely destroyed.
“After a lot of questions, passing the blame, and the people in charge refusing to speak to us, we finally found out that this had actually happened on the runway in Edinburgh! One of the airport vehicles had run over the guitar and then the staff had decided to load it on the plane anyway, with no warning or explanation to us.”
Nick stormed on Facebook: “This is what happens when you take a musical instrument on easyjet! Shower of b*******”.
Band leader Kevin Macdonald, from Haddington, said: “It really is incredible. We fully understand that accidents can happen but to load it on the plane without even informing of the accident is incredibly cheeky.
“Instead of concentrating on heading to the gig we were left arguing with Italian airport officials for over an hour about what had happened.
“After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and people passing the buck, Easyjet eventually held their hands up and admitted it had fallen off a baggage cart in Edinburgh and had been run over.
“Thankfully it wasn’t one of our bagpipes as I doubt we’d have sourced one of them in Italy at short notice.
“We’ve travelled all over the world and the lack of care and attention which baggage handlers show for musical instruments is incredible – we’re constantly paying for repairs.”
Easyjet has now offered to fully compensate the band for the damage, and have also launched an investigation into what happened with baggage handlers Menzies.
A spokeswoman for Easyjet said: “Easyjet has apologised to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers for the damage caused to the guitar by our ground handlers and is in the process of fully compensating the band for this.
“We have launched a full investigation to establish how the damage occurred and why the customer was not immediately informed. Easyjet has been in close contact with the band since the incident to resolve the issue and ensure lessons are learned.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We’re very disappointed that this incident occurred and we are currently working with Easyjet and their handling agent Menzies to investigate further. We apologise unreservedly and hope it does not impact on the Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ tour.”