“Breaks guitars” is synonymous with terrible service, bureaucracy and corporate arrogance. And you’d expect an airline to be particularly sensitive to it.
For those of you who missed the whole United Breaks Guitars episode, here’s a recap: Back in 2009, United Airlines destroyed country musician David Carroll’s checked guitar and then basically ignored his damage claim.
It resulted in a viral video that still haunts United to this day.
All of which brings us to Jonathan Pardo’s claim. Last year, he was flying from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on JetBlue. But when he arrived at the gate, an attendant told him he couldn’t board with his instrument.
“I told him that I have brought my guitar on as a carry-on in the past, on numerous flights, and it fits fine in the overhead compartment, but he insisted it be gate-checked,” he said. “He assured me that it would be placed in a safe area at the ground crew’s discretion and there would not be a problem.”
But there was a problem.
When I arrived, I opened the guitar case to find extensive damage. We contacted JetBlue and were told that the claim needed to be made in person within four hours of arrival.
Due to a hurricane and tropical storm watch, we were not able to make the 50-mile round trip to Fort Lauderdale at nearly one in the morning.
Before going to the airport, I contacted JetBlue and verified that the guitar could indeed be carried on. The guitar should have been accepted onboard and if not, proper storage should have been used once in care of JetBlue personnel.
The guitar cannot be repaired and has a replacement cost of approximately $500.
The response from JetBlue? A form letter, essentially denying his claim.
After completing a final review of the claim, we have determined the total of your settlement to be a $250 JetBlue electronic voucher.
According to our Contract of Carriage, JetBlue Airways assumes no responsibility for certain items such as: glass, ceramics, mirrors, medication, money, jewelry, cameras, perfumes, video, audio and electronic equipment (including computers, software or music), wigs, optical equipment, dental and orthodontic devices or equipment and collectible, perishable, fragile or irreplaceable items among others.
These items, contained either in checked or unchecked baggage, are accepted only at the customer’s own risk. Please reference the complete Contract of Carriage online at www.jetblue.com under Legal/ Contract of Carriage.
Realizing that you have valued your claim at an amount greater than our settlement, we recommend that you may want to contact other resources, such as your homeowner’s insurance or credit card travel insurance, for any additional compensation that might be available to you.
As you’re aware, in the case of a reported mishandled baggage, our Baggage Service Offices, Central Baggage, and Customer Commitment team work closely with customers to determine what, if any, compensation is needed. We request customers report any mishandled baggage directly to the office of their destination airport within four hours of arrival to ensure integrity of records and actions. In the event that a customer attempts to file a claim after leaving the airport, however, our team will handle those instances on a case by case basis.