United Breaks Guitars
The power of one voice in the age of social media
“The story of Dave Carroll’s broken guitar is the profoundly moving account of how one man took on an implacable system and won. In a world pervaded by doom and gloom, his story is a rare and welcome burst of sunshine.”
“By far, the greatest story of one person’s social-media victory over big-airline lies and mistreatment. It’s why all companies better stand up and pay attention to every single voice. You will love Dave Carroll, his story, his victory, and his YouTube video. This is not just a book. It’s a service lesson and a warning about social consumerism.”
“If you have customers, then you should read this book to understand how one frustrated—and talented—customer named Dave Carroll taught corporate America how to treat people better.”
“As anyone who’s heard him sing or seen him speak knows, Dave Carroll is a master storyteller. In this delightful and insightful book, Dave unveils the amazing true story of the video sensation that changed the worlds of social media and customer service.”
“Dave Carroll tells the inspiring tale of how he handled a frustrating situation nonconfrontationally, with a mission of ‘improving the world, one experience at a time.’ His story resonated with me, and it will move you, too!”
Amazon USA / International, Amazon Canada,
Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books
Another great vid! Well done!
A few years before this came out. United literally ran over my safely boxed computer with one of their luggage trucks. I argued with them for 6 months trying to get them to both take responsibility, and to fix my computer, or replace it. No go. My computer was so badly damaged that the case was 3 inches thick. The MB, Processor, Processor heat sink, video card, sound card, and ram, were all destroyed. Even the hard drive was damaged beyond repair (though I did manage to have the data partially recovered). I lost over $17,000 in software from this and was forced to replace it at my own expense. I used to fly United frequently. I’ll never fly them again, and I fly weekly due to my job. They have lost, just from my refusal to ever fly one of their planes, or subsidiaries planes, well over the cost of my loss. And I will NEVER fly them again.
Hi from the UK,
Love the songs. My other favourite airline song is called Cheap Flights by the fabulous Irish group, Fascinating Aida. It’s widely available on You Tube and very funny. Best wishes!
Now United is missbehaving to a passenger again, draging him by the aisle out off the Aircraft.
About the same excuses as you got from United, is popping up again.
When will they ever learn — .When will they ever learn –
Time for a supporting song from you Dave
I think United wouldnt expect so much views of this video and if they realise how much money will this whole thing cost them, they will pay for the damaged guitar right away, hope they learnd a lesson and now treat customers better.
You gotta love watching the rest of the band. Dave is good, but the band does add to the humor. Kinda reminds me of the original “Monkeys”.
Talent and humor…
I think if more of us adopted this “can-do” attitude, we would see a lot less hunger and injustice in the world. Good example of shining your light even when it seems hopeless. Keep sharing your music and vision!
[…] Estamos entrando en una era del cliente informado donde observamos un cambio en el equilibrio de poder entre las corporaciones y los clientes. Esta es una época en la que la gente puede entrar a nike.com y diseñar sus propios zapatos deportivos. Se trata de un momento en el que la capacidad de una compañía de concentrarse en la experiencia de cliente es más importante que cualquier otro imperativo estratégico para el éxito a largo plazo de esa compañía. Los estudios muestran que antes de que los clientes entren en contacto con usted, ya habrán recorrido más de la mitad del camino en su proceso de decisión de compra. Obtienen información sobre usted y sus productos de una cantidad enorme de información disponible: búsquedas en internet, el sitio web de su compañía, el sitio web de su competencia, su red social (Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter), sus comunidades de profesionales, medios informativos, ¡lo que se imagine! Y también para compartir sus experiencias. Por ejemplo, ¿Usted escuchó hablar de un músico llamado Dave Carroll y su banda Sons of Maxwell? Dave decidió hacer pública una experiencia sumamente decepcionante con United Airlines, cuando subió su video musical “United Breaks Guitars” a YouTube. Dentro de pocos días de publicación en línea del video, el precio de las acciones de United Airlines cayó 10%, lo que costó a los accionistas un valor aproximado de USD$ 180 millones. Hoy, cuenta con más de 14 millones de reproducciones. Y Dave escribió un libro sobre su experiencia subtitulado “El poder de una voz en la era de los medios sociales” [The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media]. Ver más información aquí: http://www.davecarrollmusic.com/book/ […]
Hey Malin, Dave would love to hear them. You can email him directly at email@example.com.
Hey Roger, What company do you seem to be having issues with? Have they responded on social media?
I’m a physician-musician, who writes new lyrics for familiar popular songs. After showing your video to dozens of people, and having UAL forget to load my electric scooter [I’m disabled], I was inspired to write a parody about this, new words to The Yellow Rose of Texas. I would like to share these lyrics with you.
I was one of the first to view your original video and push it. Now I think there is a company needing to be smacked and if you can point people this way I would appreciate it.
The video is very nice and the book looks like awesome . As a guitar player it should be the part of my guitar books . thanks for sharing . I am very exiting to try with my Yamaha 700s
This is one of the best country songs I’ve ever heard. I’m impressed with how Dave handled the situation by using his creativity to combat United Airlines and their indifference to customer service.
You should launch an Album plenty of songs to be written on Global Giants ruining livelihoods and bullying common people
Can you write a song on how another Global Giant ruined family business
I’m glad that something new was born from the tragedy that United caused. However, we know your persistence and your friends both helped push that seed to sprout. I see others call your work, “an alternative to getting angry”, but I worry they’re confused.
You weren’t angry, you had conviction. We shouldn’t accept ‘no’ for customer service these days, and you showed them how “no” turns out. Thank you, and I hope your story changes the minds of companies uninterested in enriching all their customers’ experience. 🙂
Enjoyed your video. Thought you might like my United story:
May 28, 2014
United Customer Care
United Airlines, Inc.
900 Grand Plaza Drive NHCCR
Houston, TX 77067-4323
Let me preface my remarks about my recent experience with UAL with a comment that my wife and I are full fare (not discounted or upgraded) first class passengers. This should be a point in your fare schedule where you try NOT to piss off your high margin customers.
I made reservations for four passengers flying from Phoenix, Arizona, to Montreal, Canada, subsequently returning to Boston, then Washington Dulles, and back to Phoenix. We had originally planned to book a flight to Providence to make a ferry connection to Martha’s Vineyard. These reservations were made in February. Subsequently United changed our flights and times so often we felt it would be problematic to connect with the ferry schedule.
Note that even though four persons were traveling together, both couples were notified capriciously one or the other about the schedule changes and it was only by keeping in touch that we had any clue about the flights. Instead, we elected to fly into Boston and take a limousine service to Martha’s Vineyard.
Our troubles began with UAL flight 1446 from Phoenix to Washington DC (Dulles Airport). Although weather delays and some equipment problems are excusable, not having a flight crew for an early flight isn’t. It is also not OK to have the counter people repeatedly announce later and later departure times when they knew damn well not to expect any relief for two and one half hours. This drip drip drip rescheduling can have no purpose other than preventing a shift to a competitor. This string of mendacities would be humorous except for our connecting flight to Montreal on Air Canada.
I would like to digress at this point to comment on the crew we waited two and one half hours for. There were cabin attendants in first class, but after breakfast was served no refreshments were offered for the remainder of the flight. Sure enough, we arrived at Dulles only 25 minutes before the Air Canada was scheduled to depart. The HELPFUL people at the customer service desk told us we could not make the flight, but we found out later that our bags did and were merrily winging their way to Canada.
We were offered two alternatives:
1 – Stay in a local hotel and take the next Air Canada the following morning, or
2 – Take a shuttle to Reagan National and leave on a U S Air flight to Montreal that evening.
We were not told that the shuttle was going to take us on a tour of Washington DC when we selected option 2. However, this did not turn out to be a problem with the US Air connection because that flight was two and one half hours late. (Isn’t it funny how this two and one half hour bit keeps turning up? It must be an industry standard).
When we finally arrived in Montreal at 2:00 AM we were still uncertain about the location of our bags. They had been put in an Air Canada secure location and despite the early hour of our arrival an Air Canada representative met us to release the luggage. Perhaps it is unfair, but it is hard to believe we would have gotten that kind of service from United.
When we arrived at the Pierre Trudeau airport three days later to depart Montreal, we were told that although we had tickets and a confirmation code, we did not have seats and the flight was oversold. After explaining the difficulty of our circumstances, Air Canada graciously offered 400 dollars to passengers willing to wait for the next flight so we could travel. Once again, it is hard for me to imagine United providing that kind of service (see above).
I would like to finish this narrative by telling you that our trip home to Phoenix from Washington DC was uneventful. I would like to, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. As in Phoenix, United couldn’t put together the necessary elements for air travel: a crew AND a plane. This time it was the plane that was missing, and the only hint to the trouble was the cryptic message that kept flashing on the departure board: awaiting aircraft.
This time we did have a crew! Our 6:15 flight (UA 939) finally took off at 9:37, violating the two and a half hour rule. I’m not sure this was the plane you were looking for, but, hey, we can’t be choosy.
I think you should study customer service procedures, specifically comparing how you respond with Air Canada’s (and maybe other airlines). As to your inability to successfully put together a plane and a flight crew, I can only wonder as I sat for three hours at this gate while yet another UAL flight at the next gate had a plane but no crew.
No one believes airlines have an easy job, but come on. Don’t you think you can do better?
David W Bley
It’s great to see how one person can bring a giant corporation to its knees. He hit them in the wallet and if they hadn’t been so arrogant all they would have had to do is replace his guitar. Great job, Dave.
Good for you, this is what I want to do for Movistar Colombia, a company of thieves!
Just checking the Nebraska connection. I work with clients in Nebraska and California. ( Originally from Malcolm, NE… and graduated from Concordia Seward.) I figured you have to invest your money somewhere… And who knows. We might be related. I love what you did, and I’m glad you have been blessed from it! You are my “kinda” guy! Let me know if I can be of help in any way.
In His Service,
If you are looking to purchase a CD with the United Breaks Guitars trilogy, it is found on the “Perfect Blue Deluxe” CD:
I just ordered the book on Amazon. I’d like to tell you how much you brightened up my day in 2009 with your video. It was a very hard time in our company and every day just sucked. One day a group of us were just shooting the bull and I clicked on the YouTube link from a news story about your situation. From those first few rollicking notes we were all dying laughing and singing along. After that I could click on your video every time I needed a little cheering up. Thanks for that! I haven’t watched it for a year or so and just saw tonight that the FAA has changed their rules to allow musicians to carry on some instruments. That led me to show someone your video and we all enjoyed it anew. Good luck in the future!
Having seen other airlines do the same thing I love you take on it. The youtube video and song are wonderful. Lisa in Granada
Is the physical CD available for “United Breaks Guitars”?
Hi, I live in Wirral England and just listened to your “United breaks guitars” Would love for you to play your country music over here in the UK. It is very popular here and your voice is something I could listen to and dance to for a long time. I hope you will give it some thought, Gwyneth
Feel free to give Dave an email directly, firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss! Have a great week.
Please contact Dave directly at email@example.com. Thanks!
Dear Dave, I loved your song and would love to colaborate with you to write and song dedicated to progressive. I have been at war with them for over 2 years now. I think together we could create another hit!!
Hello ! My name is Stefan and has a Swedish dance band . I have been fascinated by your song UNITED BREAKS GUITARS . I have long wanted to make a Swedish text and perform the song in Sweden and I think would go very well. I have written a text that I think turned out really well , which is about a touring dance band . Is it ok for you if I do it in Sweden ? Please Stefan Larsson
Thanks for your kind words Russ! Dave wishes you well in your course and studies.
Thanks for your kind words Jeff. I’ll pass along the message to Dave. Feel free to also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day.
Where are you located and we can let you know when Dave might be performing in your area?
Dear Dave, I need your help. I will tell you my story for asking you to help me to compose a song like United breaks guitars, but of course not with the same style 😉
Well, I live in Colombia, South America, I’m 33 years old, I live with my wife and both my kids (8 and 2 years old), I’m a teacher in an university in Bogota.
My salary is good, I confess, but it isn’t enough for keeping my wife and kids, so I needed another money source for increasing their life quality. You know, a father tries to give his family the best.
Anyway, going to the situation, it started on March/2014, I found a paper in which they said they help you finding new cars and they made them to work for you and of course, you got the profits.
It was so interesting (in my opinion), so I got a loan with which pay some part of the car: the car’s price was COP$ 30.000.000, in dollars is about $ 15.000 dollars; the legal cost was COP$ 8.000.000, about $4.000 dollars, and the “conditioning” made by them cost COP$ 8.000.000, about another $4.000 dollars, so the car’s real price was about $23.000 dollars without another insurance.
Anyway, as I told you, I made these payments in March, and they said, the car was about to be ready in 60 days, because there had to be two more companies: the car’s dealer and the company with which the car had to be enrolled (by Colombian law)
All these three companies worked as inefficient as they could, on September 1st the dealer gave me the car, but I had to give it to them for making it working, but today is the day this car isn’t working, and I have to pay the insurance, the loan, and other loans I had to get for paying the first loan. As you think, as more goes the time, more money I have to get for paying it and you know, It is really bad.
Why did I tell you this? Not for getting a lawyer, but for make social justice as you did with United, because it is not fear these companies make what they want with people like you and I.
Thank you dear Dave,
GUSTAVO MANRIQUE (from Colombia)
PD, Forgive me if my English writing is not the best (I speak Spanish)
When are you going on tour
Dave, Congratulations on your book, and moreover on the impact you’ve had on the travel and music industries. If you care to reach out, your next full-scale travel guitar is on us.
Thanks for taking the time to do both the uTube and your book. I’m taking a Customer Service course and my instructor put a link for us to view your video. Very well done. A great example of the power of one.
Dear Dave ,
I love your concerts ( Sons of Maxwell at the casino ) the last 2 years ! And I really enjoyed your book . Very interesting read !! ( I also really enjoyed your parents who I bought the book from ) They both should be considered part of the concert !! Please come every year , My Mom and I love it !!!
I love the video and the book sounds like a great read! It’s definitely going on my list of guitar books to read this year!
Dave would love to hear how your students enjoyed the book. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com.