Armed police remove champion bagpipes player from Ryanair flight over instrument dispute

A Scottish pensioner refused to let he precious bagpipes be put in the plane's luggage hold - so armed police stepped inGetty

A world champion bagpipes-playing Scottish pensioner was kicked off her Ryanair flight by armed police after refusing to put her prized instrument in the plane's luggage hold because she was worried about damaging it.

Jennifer Hutcheon, 67, was hauled from the queue while waiting to catch her flight to Scotland from Charleroi Airport in Brussels, Belgium, in front of all the other passengers, when she would not put her precious bagpipes into the plane's hold and instead tried to keep them as hand luggage.

She had been in Belgium to mark the centenary of her 25-year-old grandfather's death in the First World War near Ypres, where he was killed by a German shell. Hutcheon had played her bagpipes at the Menin Gate to honour her fallen grandfather.

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But following the plane noarding debacle as she tried to travel home, she was forced to sleep overnight at the airport with a friend and pay several hundred pounds for new tickets home.

"I couldn't believe what was happening to me," Hutcheon told the Daily Record. "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 cabin staff then called in the police. A Ryanair spokesperson told the newspaper that the woman was not adhering to the cabin baggage policy and "became disruptive".

"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," they said.

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