Flying off on surf trip soon? Taking a couple of boards? Maybe your guitar? Good luck.

Remember: that big metal bird is a sadistic bastard. Smiling airline staff are paid to enforce cash-driven policies that don't include a single element of natural social justice. The golf clubs go free; the surfboard costs 300. "Sorry, sir. We have a no-surfboards policy". "How many boards? Two? That'll be 400 pieces of silver, sir, unless you'd like to pay in flesh?"

And if your boards get broken or dinged? Tough luck, shoulda packed them better. "We can't accept responsibility."

Of course, we aren't the only ones who suffer. This Canadian cowboy looked out at the tarmac and saw his guitar being hurled through the air by baggage handlers, and when the airline wouldn't pay him back for the damage, he decided he should pay them back ... virally.

The Guardian takes up the story:

Next time an airline loses or breaks your luggage, try shaming them with a song and a video. That's what a little-known Canadian country and western singer did after he claimed that his Taylor acoustic guitar had been damaged by baggage handlers at Chicago's O'Hare airport last year.

United Breaks Guitars has become a YouTube sensation and provided Dave Carroll with the biggest hit of his career. The song - which chronicles his vain year-long attempt to win compensation from United – has had almost 4m hits on YouTube and fans have been clamouring for the song at gigs where his band, Sons of Maxwell, has performed.

Once the video appeared and became a YouTube hit, United sat up and took notice. It offered to pay the cost of repairing his guitar and flight vouchers worth $1,200 (£700) but he told the airline to donate the sum to charity. "They definitely want this to go away," he said.

Read the rest of the story here: