The Idea Box

A Creative and Humorous Way to Deal with Bad Customer Service

Flying is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. It is so common nowadays that many of us need to fly every other month either for business or leisure purposes. At times, it may be inevitable that some of us may encounter unpleasant flight experiences.

According to, the top 10 complaints of airline passengers are:

  • Flight Problems
  • Baggage
  • Reservation, Ticketing and Boarding
  • Customer Service
  • Refunds
  • Disability
  • Oversales
  • Fares
  • Others
  • Discrimination

I believe many of us have come across at least one category of complaint or feedback before.

While some passengers lodge their complaints by yelling over the phone, banging the table or writing in letters, there is a Canadian musician by the name of Dave Carroll who chose to do it in an UNCONVENTIONAL and HUMOUROUS way.

By composing a song!

[Extracted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Background Incident

Musician Dave Carroll said his guitar was broken while in United Airlines’ custody. He alleged that he heard a fellow passenger exclaim that baggage handlers on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport were throwing guitars during a layover on his flight from Halifax Stanfield International Airport to Omaha, Nebraska’s Eppley Airfield. He arrived at his destination to discover that his $3,500 Taylor guitar was severely damaged. Now if you are into music, I bet you know how valued and precious Taylor guitars are!

United Airlines’ Response?

Dave Carroll says that his eight months of negotiations with the airline for compensation ended up fruitless.

Dave Carroll’s Response?

He composed a beautiful protest song called “UNITED BREAKS GUITARS” to chronicle the real-life experience of how his guitar was broken during a trip on United Airlines in 2008, and the subsequent reaction from the airline. The song became an immediate YouTube and iTunes hit upon its release in July 2009 and a public relations embarrassment for the airline.

The Impact?

The YouTube video was posted on July 6, 2009. It amassed 150,000 views within one day, prompting United to contact Carroll saying it hoped to right the wrong. The video garnered over half a million hits by July 9, 5 million by mid-August 2009, 10 million by February 2011, and 15 million by August 2015.

Songwriter Dave Carroll wasn’t the first person abused by an airline’s customer service. But he was the first to show how one person, armed with creativity, some friends, $150, and the Internet, could turn an entire industry upside down. Many corporations benefited greatly and improved in their customer service. He subsequently became a professional speaker and also produced a book entitled UNITED BREAKS GUITAR – THE POWER OF ONE VOICE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Everyone has talents. No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something and can improve the talents and gifts they have. Make the most of your talents today and contribute … POSITIVELY!

Listen to this creative and humorous song “UNITED BREAKS GUITARS” by Dave Carroll

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