Flying the friendly skies

This week when I first heard about an airline violently removing a doctor from an overbooked flight, I knew immediately it was United.

So did others (here and here) who quickly volunteered new slogans for the carrier:

    If we can't beat our competitors, we beat our passengers.

    Just imagine how we treat your luggage.

    You are now free to be dragged around the cabin.

    Now serving punch.

    She's got a ticket to ride...and we don't care.

But in rock & roll circles United has long been known for its callousness to customers. Two years ago singer-songwriter Sarah Blackwood of Walk Off The Earth was kicked off a United flight (while seven months’ pregnant) because her toddler was crying too much. Despite passengers’ outrage over Blackwood's removal and the ensuing social media outcry, United refused to apologize.

Just as disturbing to me is United’s indelicate habit of breaking guitars, which even inspired a song and viral video, United Breaks Guitars, by Dave Carroll—who watched from the cabin in horror as baggage handlers tossed around his $3,200 Taylor guitar. (United later acknowledged that the neck of the guitar had been broken, but repeatedly refused to compensate Carroll, for a variety of absurd reasons,)

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