UNITED BREAKS HEARTS (AND GUITARS)
Delaying the solving of a problem merely delays the inevitable outcome, and it’s increasingly becoming tantamount to viral Armageddon.
A band called Sons of Maxwell was flying from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Omaha, Nebraska, for a tour performance with a layover in Chicago. As they were preparing to deplane, a woman behind them said: “They’re throwing guitars out there.” The instruments being thrown about by the baggage handlers indeed belonged to the band. However, when band member Dave Carroll pointed this out to a flight attendant on the plane, he was cut off with: “Don’t talk to me. Talk to the lead agent outside.” When he talked to an employee at the gate about how the instruments were being mishandled, he was told: “But hon, that’s why we make you sign the waiver.”
They landed in Omaha at 12:30 A.M., and there were no employees around. Carroll found out during the band’s sound check later that day that his $3,500 710 Taylor was smashed at the base. After six months of literally being bandied about like a pinball from Halifax to Omaha to Chicago to India (via the call center) to New York and from United to Air Canada (United’s Canadian partner), Carroll repaired the guitar himself for $1,200.
In good faith, Carroll continued to press for resolution, but after yet another two months, one Ms. Irlweg in Chicago finally denied the claim on the following grounds:
• He didn’t report it to the United employees (who weren’t present when he landed ...