Halifax singer-songwriter Dave Carroll will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to tell a hearing on airline passenger rights how United Airlines scrunched his expensive guitar and wouldn't compensate him.
Carroll will speak at an airline passenger rights hearing looking into problems with how U.S. airlines treat the flying public. Organizers have been given permission to hold the hearing in a congressional hearing room.
"It will look, smell and act like a real congressional hearing," said Kate Hanni, executive director of FlyersRights.org, a sponsor of the event.
"This is the chance for many victims to speak," she told CBC News. Her organization is supporting legislative proposals that would allow someone to deplane after three hours of extended tarmac delay. Hanni said she founded her group after being stuck waiting in a plane for almost 10 hours.
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In the spring of 2008, Carroll and his band, Sons of Maxwell, were travelling from Halifax to Nebraska for a one-week tour when he says they noticed United Airlines baggage handlers throwing around their instruments on the tarmac in Chicago. He later discovered that his $3,500 guitar had been severely damaged.
Carroll said United didn't deny the incident occurred, but wouldn't compensate him. After many months of emails and baggage claims went nowhere, Carroll said he told a United official he would write three songs about his experience with the airline and post them online.
Song No. 1 was called United Breaks Guitars, and the video quickly became a page of internet history. It has been viewed more than 5.5 million times on YouTube and has prompted more than 22,000 comments, many from people telling their own horror stories about airport baggage handling in general and United Airlines in particular. Song No. 2 was posted last month and has garnered more than 300,000 views. The final song in the trilogy is to be released in the fall.
United officials eventually offered some compensation. They said they're now using Carroll's videos as training exercises for new employees.
Thanks to Jerry for showing me the video back in June when it first came out. Trust me, you'll enjoy it just as much.