United Broke My Guitar

David Carroll, lead singer with Canadian band Sons of Maxwell, has taken on United Airlines with a music video, “United Broke My Guitar”. The video, posted on YouTube, has been viewed 719,866 times since it was posted on July 6, 2009.

United Breaks Guitars

Maxwell’s $3500 710 Taylor guitar was severely damaged on March 31, 2008, by United Airlines baggage handlers at Chicago. Maxwell’s attempts to get any compensation from United Airlines have been met with passing of responsibility, denial of responsibility and passive resistance. Months later, Carroll has given up trying to convince United Airlines. He has worked with Curve Productions of Halifax to launch the first of three music videos drawing world attention to the airline’s refusal to provide compensation.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

David explains the creative focus for the project on his MySpace site

“United has demonstrated they know how to keep their airline in the forefront of their customer’s minds and I wanted this project to expand upon that satirically. I’ve been done “being angry” for quite some time and, if anything, I should thank United. They’ve given me a creative outlet that has brought people together from around the world. We had a pile of laughs making the recording and the video while the images are spinning on how to make “United: Song 2” even better than the first. So, thanks United! If my guitar had to be smashed due to extreme negligence I’m glad it was you that did it. Now sit back and enjoy the show.”

Filed under: Music Videos, United Airlines



  • Georgina S Frazer

    From Calgary AB. Love the song and sound.
    Now that’s thinking!

  • Guillermo

    Great Job guys United deserves all they get from this one!

  • Graham

    From West Oz, top job fellas, what a bunch of jerks that mob are!

  • Ian Cook


  • AJ

    SIMILAR STORY: I used to tour with blues artist Debbie Davies, and while we were on tour in Hawaii several years ago, along with guitarist Walter Trout and his band, we boarded a flight on Hawaiian Airlines from one island to another. Walter’s road manager and I both saw a baggage handler on the tarmac take Walter’s favorite amplifier head (it was in a road case) and SLAM it down hard on the conveyor belt to be loaded into the plane’s cargo area! When we got to the venue for sound check, the only thing that came out of that amp was a horribly loud buzz/hum!! The impact caused the transformer in the amp to be hanging by one screw, and I beleive that a wire had been ripped out from the blunt force, as well as damamge to some tubes! I don’t know if any monies were sought from the airline from Walter Trout or his management, but all I can tell you this my friends; If you are traveling with a valuable instrument, do what I do, put it in a well-padded gig bag and place it in an overhead bin! NEVER CHECK IT!! When you check in at the ticket desk, a lot of airline employees will try to tell you that it’s not allowed…DON’T LISTEN TO THEM! Be polite but firm and just tell them that you’ve been flying with your instrument for years as a professional touring musician and you’ve never had any problems while boarding at the gate. Tell them that it fits neatly in an overhead without any problems, and flight attendants are always OK with it. If that doesn’t work, also add that it’s a very rare & expensive instrument and you’ve always placed it in an overhead bin with no problems on every flight you’ve taken through the years. Usually, they will then say to you, “Well..it’s really up to the flight attendants on board…” Then you just say, “OK..not a problem. I’ll take that chance then.” Believe me, you will not have a problem at the gate. Unless of course you are taking too much on board! I just take one bass in a gig bag and a small carry-on bag and I never have a problem at the gate. The only thing you want to make sure of is that no one comes along and puts something heavy on top of it! Keep a watchful eye on passengers as they board and just be polite. Yeah, you’ll encounter some people that will give you that disgusted look, or utter something under their breath…just stay calm and polite and everything will be alright!

  • Tahuaya

    Now that is revenge. Congrats!

  • Jean Groth

    I heard this case was settled recently by United. True?

  • Trish

    United Broke My Guitar Too!!!!
    Just got off the phone with United, who said it has been too long and he can’t do anything for me. He also said they don’t have an email I can send my story to (lies), so here it is! I’ve sent this to United many times now and haven’t heard anything back but an automated response in 3 years. I’m displeased,….to say the least.

    November, 2009
    Whoever reads this, please read it carefully. This matter is so important to me. Sometime in June I fell in love with a friend I’ve had for years. I decided to move to New Zealand and live with him. In taking this risk, I had to give up my piano studio, my grand piano, violin, keyboard, electric guitar, car, house, and everything that I’ve ever worked for. I sold everything for extremely cheap amounts of money at garage sales and made a quick move on August 6th, stuffing any clothes that I wanted to keep and a few precious belongings in my suitcase. The only thing I couldn’t feel good about leaving behind was my acoustic guitar, which I carried around on my back with a smile on my face; knowing that it would help me begin my new life here in NZ. The flight from Portland to LA was my first step of flights on my long journey, and I found myself heading outside in a line of people that shifted their way up the steps to the small aircraft. Before stepping on, I was stopped by a young man in his early twenties. He explained to me that the aircraft was too small to fit overhead baggage and needed to place my guitar underneath the plane. Right away I had a very bad feeling about it. I thought “well…the items IS called a carry on, right??” I didn’t want to hand it over and let somebody else control what happens to it, just as a mother wouldn’t want to hand her baby over to some stranger to watch for a couple hours just on pure faith. The young man assured me that he would put it someplace safe and that it would be in good hands and I reluctantly handed it over to him and said “please make sure it’s safe.” Once I arrived in LA the sun was out and life seemed so bright and beautiful. I waited for my luggage in another line of people as they brought each piece up to the travelers one by one. I began to get anxious when it wasn’t showing up right away, but knew once I had it I would be able to keep myself entertained for hours while I awaited my next flight to Aukland. Alas, I saw my guitar bag being passed from man to man, and then finally up to me as the last piece of baggage off the plane. I said to the man with a sigh of relief “aww! Thank you so much!” As I walked away I heard a strange clanking sound behind me, which I soon realized wasn’t normal. I opened up my guitar case and found the top of the neck broken off, and was only being held by it’s strings as it had slid down the case. Nothing could have been more overwhelming to me than to have the last part of anything that meant something to me; that I hadn’t thrown away, given away, or sold, lying useless and broken to pieces in a bag. I tried not to let it hurt me so much since many people were walking around, and made my way to people that worked in the baggage department. They told me that United Airlines wouldn’t do anything about it, and were extremely cold to me as I told my story. The lady wasn’t listening or even looking at me when I was speaking. (I vaguely remember her giving me some air miles on the computer, but of course they have no record of this….) I then carried my useless weight of wood on my back and ran into a large African American woman who had heard the whole story. She told me not to lose faith and to keep trying. I gave her a big hug and she let me cry on her shoulder for a moment. It was so nice to have a complete stranger make me feel so much better.
    I now live in Wellington for the time being. It’s not easy gaining enough piano students all at once to make a living, but with all this new found time on my hands I’ve found that I can make a small amount of money busking on the street. I was fortunate to have my guitar fixed enough to be playable, and yet it’s still not quite the same. People do ask what happened to it when I’m performing, and they shake their heads in disappointment when they hear that United Airlines couldn’t do anything for me. I’ve let a couple months go by, but something in my heart tells me that something has been left unjust. My memory goes back to that stranger that gave me comfort at the airport and told me to not give up and to have faith. I know that if that guitar had been put in a closet and kept in better hands that it would not be broken right now. It is truly a shame. I honestly think the only way that we could make this right is if United bought me a new guitar or gave me the money to buy one myself. Thank you so much for reading my story.