Another Airline "Breaks Guitars"

How is it possible for another airline to mishandle a customer's guitar AND the situation? Remember "United Breaks Guitars," the hit YouTube video and song that garnered over 12 million views?

This time, Delta disappointed Dave Schneider, guitarist and singer with the band The LeeVees. Trapping his (according to Schneider) $10,000 guitar between an elevator and a service-dock railing, the airline caused $1,980 in damage. Schneider wanted to carry on his guitar but was told that he had to check it. He described the ordeal in a YouTube video and on his Facebook page.

Although Schneider was offered $1,000, he declined, not knowing how much the repairs would cost. He completed online forms but didn't hear back from the airline until his story became public on Yahoo and other news sources. Then, the airline quickly responded, offering to replace his Gibson guitar.

Not to be outdone-or to miss a publicity opportunity-Gibson offered to replace the guitar with an anniversary issue guitar free of charge. Schneider was impressed: "We all know Gibson guitars rock. But at this moment, the Gibson company is rocking even harder than Pete Townshend's Les Paul."

Schneider mostly was disappointed with Delta's response: "I received quite a few apologies from different folks at Delta, which seemed a bit forced. But I will say that the last email, which I pasted below, was refreshingly genuine."

Mr. Schneider,

I want to further add apologies on behalf of myself and the entire Delta Executive Leadership team for the inconvenience and stress this situation caused. We are reviewing the series of events in full to ensure appropriate steps are taken to prevent future occurrences. Again, my sincerest apologies--please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to discuss further.

Jon Litzenberger

Delta Air Lines

Discussion Starters:

  • What should Delta have done differently in this situation? What should the airline have learned from the United experience?
  • Research Taylor Guitars' response in the United situation. How does Gibson's response compare? Which is more likely to win customers' favor?