In his case, it literally was a struggle. Before boarding an Air India flight from Paris to New York City last month, an airport official attempted to check Ponomarev's 1961 Connstellation trumpet in the cargo hold. Ponomarev refused to let go off his instrument and his arm was broken as police tried to wrestle it from him.
"If you've ever played a musical instrument, then you should know how strong the bond is between the musician and the instrument. You wouldn't give your baby away to anybody, and so you wouldn't give away your horn," Ponomarev told the Times.
Airport authorities and local police confirmed that the incident did happen prior to Ponomarev's flight, but blamed him for the injury. "The officers tried to subdue him, and you can say that he hurt himself by rebelling," a spokesman for the airport police told the Times.
A manager for Air India's Paris office told the paper that the airline requires that large instruments travel as checked baggage.
After his arm was broken, Ponomarev was detained for six hours and was not allowed to make any calls or receive medical attention, according to the paper.
Unsurprisingly, the injury has had an immediate effect on Ponomarev's career, forcing him to cancel a musical engagement and limit his daily practice, according to the Times. But he did perform in a long-scheduled concert in Russia late last month. The paper quotes him as saying, "They didn't win the battle. They broke my arm. But the horn is still with me."