Courses & TravelNovember 16, 2009

"United Breaks Guitars"

In two years of a life on the road, I've had plenty of delays, a couple canceled flights and my fair share of middle seats, but I've only lost one set of clubs (American Airlines). No breaks (knock wood) but I've recently started using the ClubGlove Stiff Arm, which helps that cause.

I was just sent this music video (thank you, Roger) about United Airlines breaking a guitar. It's corny, but it's catchy. For the golfer who has had their clubs come back in 28 pieces; or never come back at all--we can relate.

Here's the story: *"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and the lead singer David Carroll's Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. He discovered later that the $3,500 guitar was severely damaged. United didn't deny the experience occurred, but for nine months the various people he communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate him for his loss. So he promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that he would write and produce three songs about his experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world."

*I'm told that during his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, Carroll stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for YouTube exposing their lack of cooperation. The Manager  responded:  "Good luck with that one, pal".

I'd say Carroll had good luck with that--he's had over six million hits to his video on YouTube.

United Airlines contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video.  Naturally his response was:  "Good luck with that one, pal".

Here's the video:

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*And then this . . .

The New York Times wrote this story about Carroll, his song and another recent flight on United:*

"With Video, a Traveler Fights Back"

By CHRISTINE NEGRONI

Published: October 28, 2009

United Airlines learned its lesson the hard way that David Carroll was not just another customer.

After baggage handlers at United broke his guitar last summer and the airline refused to pay for the $1,200 repair, Mr. Carroll, a Canadian singer, created a music video titled "United Breaks Guitars" that has been viewed more than 5.8 million times. United executives met with him and promised to do better.

So how was Mr. Carroll's most recent flight on United?

This Everyman symbol of the aggrieved traveler was treated, well, like just another customer. United lost his bag.

Here's a link to the rest of the story.

**--Matty G.

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