Lonesome Tree in Sandhills

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sons of Maxwell: 1 | United Airlines: 0

The Sons of Maxwell, a band from Nova Scotia, flew to Nebraska for a 1-wk tour in the Spring of 2008. United Airlines's baggage handlers in Chicago threw guitars into the hold, breaking Dave Carroll's $3500 Taylor guitar. He watched in horror and immediately protested but was told, “hun, that’s why we make you sign the waiver” and to take it up with the ground crew in Omaha. He hadn't signed a waiver and there were no employees in sight when the plane arrived late at 12:30 A.M. - besides they were tired and needed those few hours to sleep.

Tuning up for the first gig on their Nebraska tour, Dave realized his guitar was broken.  Returning to the Omaha airport 7 days later, Dave was told he would have to start his claim where he began the trip - in Halifax, but was told by Canadian Air in Halifax that United didn't have a presence there.  Thus began an incredible, unsuccessful quest to get United to either fix or replace his Taylor guitar.

Dave's efforts give new meaning to "getting the run-around" - including calls to customer service in India. Over the past year, United steadfastly refused to accept responsibility for damaging Dave's $3500 Taylor guitar.  Meanwhile Dave had it repaired at a cost of $1200, but it doesn't have the same sound.  Dave told United's last representative that he would write 3 songs about his experiences, post a video of the songs on YouTube and ask people to vote their favorite - hoping to get a million hits in a year. Dave's video has had almost 5 million views so far.  Its a great song (in the sidebar or here).

United's parent company executives are compensated richly (not necessarily "earned").  Glenn Tilton (UAL Chairman/CEO), Kathryn Mikells (UAL Ex.VP & CFO), and John Tague ( UAL Ex.VP of UAL & United Airlines Pres.) were paid $6.47 million, $1.02 million, and $3.2 million, respectively.

No matter ~ let's just enjoy listening to Dave Carroll's lovely laid-back song "A Woman Like You" (in the sidebar)... ummm, SO nice!  I'll not hold my breath waiting for United's richly-paid execs to invite Dave to have a beer with them....

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