Lonely Planet Writer

Huh? United loses 'United Breaks Guitars' guy's bags!

sleeping donkey with luggage

This has to take the cake.

Remember David Carroll, whose acoustic guitar was smashed by United Airlines' luggage handlers? If you don't, here's the song he recorded, which went viral:


Well, turns out that United has yet again managed to get in David's bad books. The airline lost David's luggage - as he was en route to give a talk about customer service.

Not to pick on poor United, which has had more than its fair share of woes recently, but is it time to look carefully at the state of the passenger aviation industry? A few days ago, Luke wrote about the perception that budget airlines are letting standards drop precipitously (for example, stranding passengers for days on end). Luke asks whether we should just grin and bear it, given that we should expect to get what we pay for.

But it's clear that general dissatisfaction isn't confined to the budget-airline realm anymore. Full-service airlines are seeing complaints about uncomfortable seat pitch, horrendous food and even 'robotic, mummy-like flight attendants'.

So what's going on? Is the general standard slipping, or are our visions of yesterday tainted by nostalgia (or price regulation, which forced airlines to compete on service and quality)?

I suspect I know what David Carroll would say.