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United Breaks Guitars

United Breaks Guitars

“United Breaks Guitars” is a protest song that chronicles a real-life experience of how the guitar of the singer Dave Carrol was broken during a trip on a United Airlines flight in 2008. The song became an immediate YouTube hit and an embarrassment for the airline.

Dave Carroll claimed that his guitar was broken during the flight with United Airlines and demanded a replacement. Sitting in the aircraft he even heard a fellow passenger exclaim that baggage handlers on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport were throwing a guitar. Once he arrived at his destination he realized how true this was as his $3,500 Taylor guitar was severely damaged.

Carroll filed a claim with United Airlines but the airline rejected his claim and denied responsibility for his loss. His further negotiations with the airline lasted nine months but without any satisfying outcome.

Motivated by his frustration Carroll wrote a song and created a music video about his experience. The lyrics include the verse, “I should have flown with someone else, or gone by car, ’cause United breaks guitars.” The song became an instant success on YouTube and it soon reached more than a million views. As the media started to report his story, Dave’s song became even more famous and the public relations humiliation for United Airlines grew even more serious.

The video of the song can be watched here:


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