Airline Saves Guitar

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A Canadian man says an extraordinarily generous charter airline not only saved the holidays of 900 stranded tourists, it also delivered his prized Takamine D Series guitar home after it went astray in the confusion. In late February, Ottawa-based charter operator Go Travel South went out of business leaving 900 customers, including Vince Thompson, scattered around the Caribbean. Kelowna, B.C.-based Flair Airlines, which had flown the Snowbirds south under contract to the charter company, went to pick them up at a cost to the airline of more than $300,000. Flair spokesman Chris Lapointe said rescuing the stranded vacationers was "the right thing to do" but Thompson said saving the guitar was above and beyond that.

Thompson checked the guitar as oversized baggage for his Feb. 23 flight but it got misdirected in the Cancun airport and didn't get put on the flight. Flair flew its last rescue mission to Cancun on Feb. 28 and the guitar was located and put on board. Thompson and the Takamine D were reunited the next day. "I picked it up at the Ottawa airport, examined the contents of the guitar case and found it to be in pristine condition, just as I had left it at Cancun," Thompson said in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen. Last year, Dave Carroll, a Canadian singer-songwriter became an Internet sensation with his music video "United Breaks Guitars" describing the destruction of his instrument on a flight to Nebraska and the subsequent handling of the incident by United Airlines.