I've had a great time with the recent, fun brouhaha over United Breaks Guitars. With 3 million+ views so far, the video is a testament to the new 21st century power of the individual living in the world of social media, and should give hope to all of us who ever wanted to stick it to The Man.
As "Sons of Maxwell" singer Dave Carroll notes in his follow-up statement, United Airlines has stepped up and has offered him some compensation. News reports also state that United wants to use the video in "training".
Sorry, but I don't see a training problem here. I see employees constrained by bad practices and protocols, and others whose knowingly substandard performance would have no consequence. Basically, they were doing exactly what they were expected to do. Even Dave Carroll defended the employee who gave him the final "no" from the airline as, "Acting in the interests of the policies she represented."
No, baggage handlers do not need to attend training so they can "learn" not to throw musical instruments onto the tarmac, for cryin' out loud. People with the title "customer service representative" do not need to be "taught" not to be indifferent. Too often management throws problems into a bucket labeled "training issue" as if that will fix larger matters of culture and leadership. (And maybe hiring.)
And I want to be fair to United: Those of us who travel frequently know that this kind of thing could happen with most any airline at most any airport. (Just read the comments below the original video.) Even if it doesn't create sweeping change, perhaps the work of this one man will help spark an industry desire to improve enough to stay off of YouTube.