NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The son of the late John Prine is sharing his experience with an airline. Tommy Prine says he was forced to check one of his father’s guitars at the gate and when he got home to Nashville, it was damaged. “Right here, there's a pretty noticeable crack,” Tommy Prine said.

Prine showed News4 the damage to one of his father's guitars on Wednesday. More than a year ago, John Prine died after contracting COVID-19.

"Anything that I have now that my dad's ever given to me or got me through one reason or another, it's priceless,” Prine said. Tommy Prine and his now fiancé went to Ireland for his birthday and for a remembrance concert for his dad. "He had a couple of guitars up in the house we have in Ireland and I wanted to take one of them home,” Prine said.

From Dublin to Philadelphia, there were no issues.

Prine said it was going from Philadelphia to Nashville that keeps replaying in his mind. He told News4 an American Airlines employee wanted him to check the guitar at the gate. "It's not very safe for an instrument to go down there if it's in a travel bag and especially this particular instrument, it means a lot to me. So, it made me feel very uncomfortable that they were asking me to do that,” Prine said.

He voiced his concerns, but says he was told he had no other option. He ended up checking the guitar. When he got home to Nashville on Monday, he was upset. “I opened up the travel case and the guitar was smashed at the bottom of it,” Prine said.

He contacted the airline right away and filed a claim for damages. Prine said he was told the airline would not accept responsibility.

He then went on social media to talk about his experience. "Because I know this isn't an isolated incident. I know for a fact this isn't the first time it's happened on any airline,” Prine said.

After posting on social media, Prine said the airline reached back out. He hopes to raise awareness. "This is people's livelihoods, you know? If I was someone who's not me and this was my only guitar and I’m traveling across the country for my gig and that gets broken and it's on me, that's ruining my career at that moment,” Prine said.

News4 reached out to American Airlines for comment, but has not heard back.

The American Federation of Musicians put out a guide to flying with musical instruments. It came out after the Department of Transportation updated its policies in March of 2015.

The guide says, “airlines must accommodate musical instruments as carry-on items as long as there is room available in the overhead bin or under-seat area at the time of boarding and the instrument can be safely stowed.”

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