United breaks guitars

While I’m in the mood for revealing bad customer service here’s a doozy that slipped by me. (Thanks G forpointing it out.)

Dave Carroll, a musician from Halifax flew United Airlines to Nebraska where his band, Sons of Maxwell were playing gigs all week.

After the plane landed Dave looked out his window to see the baggage handlers tossing their instruments round like confetti. When Dave collected his guitar off the carousel his worst fears were realised – his handmade Taylor guitar (worth US$3,500) was broken.

To cut a long story short – he complained, and complained – for nine months until finally he had had enough. United Airlines were not going to play ball. So, Dave told United that he would write three songs about his experience and release them one after the other as a warning to others not to fly United.

The ensuing video has gone viral. According to Visible Measures (a company that is in the business of measuring the impact of viral campaigns) the YouTube video has amassed more than 3 million hits in ten days, and over 14,000 comments across various blogs and news outlets. A previously little-known country band from Halifax, Nova Scotia now has a world-wide audience.

United Airlines has also had amazing press coverage, far more air time than they could ever have possibly bought for $3,500 – unfortunately it’s all bad press.

As Dave Carroll puts it on his blog:

I should thank United. They’ve given me a creative outlet that has brought people together from around the world…So, thanks United! If my guitar had to be smashed due to extreme negligence I’m glad it was you that did it. Now sit back and enjoy the show.

Indeed. Here’s the first video.

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