The truth is stranger than fiction, or at least more amusing – as demonstrated by this true story told by my mother.
I think I told you Scotty [my brother] got into a summer orchestra festival in the Napa Valley of CA. We asked Mr. Field about getting his viola on the plane as carry on. [BSO principle violist and his Peabody professor] Field said that you have to just say it’s an expensive violin. If you say it’s a viola, you’ll have to explain what it is and they might give you trouble. They are used to letting violins in the overhead compartments. TSA will make Scotty open the case to make sure it’s not a mafia machine gun, but what are the odds that one of those agents is going to say “Aha! You lied to me. It’s a viola, not a violin!”