Dude, My Guitar Is Busted! What Do I Do? A Story of Travel and Intrigue
Once upon a time, a guy was traveling with his band on a popular airline carrier. The band hoped to conquer the world, but decided they’d try to conquer a week of Nebraska touring first. They boarded their plane with hopes and dreams of becoming superstars, secure in the knowledge that their belongings, including their precious musical instruments, were in the safe hands of the employees of the airline. The flight seemed to go well, no turbulence to note, but as they sat ready to deplane to connect to another flight, a fellow passenger happened to mention that it looked like the crew members on the ground were throwing guitars around.
Oh no! Not guitars!
Yes, guitars. These band members were none too pleased, as you can imagine. They witnessed their bass guitar being tossed by baggage handlers, and then they saw a $3,500 710 Taylor guitar being thrown into the mix. Well, you can imagine their displeasure to learn that not only was their expensive equipment being tossed around as if it was a mere hula hoop in the wind, but this equipment was their source of income and livelihood!
When I first heard about this story, I of course thought that surely the airlines would make this all better with a Band Aid and a kiss on the ouchie. Not so. Shocking! Appalling! An airline not taking responsibility for damaged baggage? Blasphemy, you may yell at me. Yes, I know, I deserve such a harsh word, but I do not lie. The airline gave the band members the runaround, directing them to call this number, then fax information to this other number, to file a claim, and so on and so forth. This may shock you, causing you to open your mouth, but before you start uttering that “b” word, let me tell you what happened next.
Six months later, yes it took that long for the band to get anywhere about being compensated for the repairs to their broken equipment pieces, the claim was filed and subsequently denied. The airline denied the claim of damaged baggage and refused to take responsibility. What is this world coming to? What kind of world do we live in where we pay hundreds of dollars to board a giant sky vessel and hand over our intimate objects (often for more money) to complete strangers, and we can’t even trust that our dollars have bought enough peace of mind to know that we can walk off that plane (preferably AFTER it lands), pick up our luggage, and go on our merry way with everything intact? Oh right, that kind of world is here, now.
Oh darn, are you noting some sarcasm in my bedtime story? Rightly so. This story isn’t uncommon, is it? Has this happened to you, making you swear off flying with such-and-such airlines for the rest of your life? Let me break some harsh reality tidbits for you. The airlines do not care about you or your precious baggage. They care about your money. What’s that I hear? Are you left with nothing to say, no “blasphemy” to shout, because you know it’s true?
So why tell this story? I am telling you this story, because it will happen to you. An airline will lose your or damage your baggage, and you will become frustrated because they just don’t care. You’ll feel hopeless and out of sorts, just like the band did from my story. Want to know what they did to feel better? YouTube. The band posted songs on YouTube about their adventure with the unruly airline. Look it up—it’s called United Breaks Guitars. Oops, have I given away the name of the airline?
But that’s not all. The guy who wrote this song, Dave Carroll, received so much fame from his video that he appeared on or in “The View,” “20/20,” CNN, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and BBC, to name just a few. He published a book in May, called United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media,” and will release his second solo album later this year.
What’s the moral of this story? When an airline hands you a busted guitar, get to tweetin’, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, and anything else social media throws on your lap, and see what happens.