United Airlines Gets A Harsh Lesson In the Power Of New Media

Jul 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Citizen Media, Internet TV, Video

In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and singer Dave Carrol saw his Taylor guitar being thrown around by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago:

I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss.

So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.

United Breaks Guitars has been viewed nearly a quarter million times in just 2 days, and that’s goint to be just the beginning.

United Breaks Guitars is going viral because:

  • Everybody hates the hassle of flying these days. Flying was once glamorous; now, dinner is a bag of peanuts and you’ve got to pay $15 dollars if you decide that you actually want to check in some luggage.
  • Everybody has been given the run around by airlines.
  • Dave Carroll’s story is a story that you can relate to, even if you don’t have $3,500 guitars.
  • There’s a lot of humor in the video, ranging from the baggage handlers playing toss with Carroll’s guitar to the chalk outline of the victim.
  • The song is catchy and well crafted. If you’re like me, you probably found yourself singing along with the chorus by the end of the song.

What a fiasco for United Airlines. And Carroll has promised two more songs!

Do you think Ms. Irlweg has some explaining to do?

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  1. […] United Airlines Gets A Harsh Lesson In the Power Of New Media – Podcasting NewsIn the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and singer Dave Carrol saw his Taylor guitar being thrown around by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago: I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was […]

  2. Timo Heuer says:

    If I was United I’d do this:

    1. Of course buy these dudes a new guitar.
    2. Provide some music schools / new and coming bands with some guitars.
    3. Make an authentic “we are sorry” song.

    Anyway, the PR disaster is perfect…

  3. misterirwin says:

    who the eff doesn’t carry their guitar on? oh, these guys.

  4. Feeling your pain says:

    oh for gosh sakes….United Airlines…just fess up and pay the man! This is the very thing wrong with so many companies in the United States…pass the buck please.

    Great work…I think I would like to hear one for Metro PCS, Verizon, Safeway.com, all the major banks, and any company who out sources their phones to non-English speaking individuals (who are only trying to earn a living and not their fault) ….oh the list goes on and on….bottom line CUSTOMER SERVICE PEOPLE!!!! I will think twice about flying United- thanks!

  5. Ciara Ni Maoldomhnaigh says:

    Goodness…United need to get a wriggle on and sort this out. The poor guy probably wasn’t permitted to take his instruments onboard due to their size and the fact that secuity see strings as possible weapons (I kid you not!!)

  6. Chuck Palm says:

    UNITED is learning the hard way, DEAL WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS! They should now realize, this guy is going viral, 1/2 million YouTube hits, and growing. Big PR disaster for them. They should know not to mess with a PODCASTER!

    CP

  7. James Lewin says:

    Chuck – my thoughts exactly!

    Don’t f*** with people that understand new media!

  8. Richard says:

    Wow! Is new media great or what?

    I am a musician and frequent airline traveler and of many airlines. I had brand new pair of high quality Sony studio headphones taken from my luggage from U.S. Airways flight from Fresno, CA. Just so you know I got the same runaround for days and finally gave up! Basically most airlines do not cover anything at all if it is missing, stolen or damaged.

    GREAT SONG ! Hope it becomes a #1 hit.

    Great $3,500.00 advertising campaign for United airlines. BET THEY WISH THEY HAD SETTLED NOW ! ! !

  9. S Haust says:

    Bicycles too. It was a long time ago but I turned and looked out a terminal
    window to see my own bicycle thrown from the baggage port to the tarmac.
    The airline was a predecessor of what is now US Airways and fortunately
    there was no damage because I had overpacked the bike. but, it was
    deliberately thrown and I have no doubt the practice continues.

  10. B Whetstone says:

    As a loyal and long-suffering United customer of many, many years (and over 900,000 actual miles)… I can’t begin to tell you how amused I was to hear the new song and watch the video of “United Breaks Guitars”. Go get’em!! Can’t wait for the other two songs to come out. I WILL be telling all of my friends.

  11. You can carry on a guitar? Where would you put it?

    POS System Software

  12. I don’t believe you can carry a guitar on anymore.

    Thomas

    h1n1 Symptoms
    Florida Web design

  13. consolidation says:

    Well, most unfortunately, it’s not such a big deal once the airlines all consolidate and they are all the same…

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