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FDOS your post was timely. This poor woman had an even more absurd experience.

“Sorry, Madam, your cello can’t fly with us as it doesn’t have an ESTA.”

Good Grief – that is ridiculous. I can’t say it sounds sensible to book a cello with a plausible name and then it is disappointing that the phone call to BA didn’t get it sorted before departure.

Once checked in, I can see how thelack of an ESTA could have been a problem if the US systems thought ‘Chuck Cello’ was a person – it should never have got to that stage.

As for my issue, fortunately I encountered an experienced check in agent who knew what was what and checked me in without a problem.