Friday, July 10, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

The family and I have just returned from a weeklong trip to Texas. The flights home were on United and passed through Chicago's O'Hare Airport. While we weren't hauling guitars, we were treated to the sight of some incredibly rough luggage handling.

The leg of the journey from Chicago to Greensboro was on a small regional jet. Because of the limited storage room in the cabin, larger carry-ons had to be "gate-checked." Once we were on the plane, we watched as the bags were thrown (no exaggeration) from the jet bridge onto a chute. Each bag then tumbled, end over end down the chute. At the bottom of the chute, the bags were retrieved and thrown onto a cart.

We also had two checked bags, for which we had to pay extra. We weren't able to see how they were handled, but the fact that the fully-packed contents were completely scrambled when we finally opened the bags suggests that they got similar rough treatment.

Fortunately, no breakables were in our bags.

United claims that it is improving its baggage handling. However, you'd never know it from our experience.

UPDATE (7/11/09): United offered Dave Carroll compensation for his guitar.