Stephen Fearing, the guitarist of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, waged a Twitter war with Air Canada Thursday after he says the airline lost his valuable guitar on a flight from London to Halifax for two days.
While the guitar was eventually located Thursday afternoon at Heathrow Airport, Fearing says the airline needs to better communicate with passengers and resolve whatever issues are causing luggage to go missing.
He said not everyone who loses their luggage is as lucky as he is to have fans and musicians to reach out to the global community on social media to add pressure.
Fearing last saw the guitar when he checked it at Heathrow Airport while returning from the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in the U.K. with the Juno-winning trio Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.
'It's got my blood sweat and tears in it and I love it to bits. It's a rare, precious thing' - Stephen Fearing
"You wait and wait and wait and gradually you see you’re one of the last people standing at the conveyor belt," he said. "And the conveyor belt stops and you know you're in trouble."
On Thursday, Fearing waged a war with Air Canada on Twitter calling for help from other musicians and his “twitterites.”
The guitar @aircanada has LOST ("delayed luggage" my arse) is my precious Manzer. If you feel my pain, please RT— Stephen Fearing (@StephenFearing) August 27, 2014
@StephenFearing We're looking into it, please stay posted. /pd— Air Canada (@AirCanada) August 28, 2014
Fearing said the guitar, which he purchased from Linda Manzer in 1990, was insured.
The Twitter war
"That’s not the point," he said. "It's got my blood sweat and tears in it and I love it to bits. It's a rare, precious thing."
The airline has not yet clarified whether Fearing’s Linda Manzer guitar had been sent to the wrong destination, was circling on another carousel, or had never made it on board Fearing’s flight to Halifax.
Fearing said when he spoke to luggage claim officials in Heathrow, he was told they had been having issues with lost luggage coming out of Heathrow's Terminal 2.
“I've always assumed they had some sort of inside track where they could punch in your ticket number and file number and actually draw up where it is," said Fearing.
But he says he had no luck getting past automated messages and speaking to local officials within the airline to track down the guitar — so he turned to Twitter and Facebook.
"People are rallying to help me and it's humbling, but if I'm Joe Blow you don't have this kind of resources and you're dealing with Delhi."
Within minutes of speaking with CBC News on air Thursday in Halifax, Fearing received a call from a baggage specialist saying the guitar had been found.
"I know it's in a good case and they've found it now so that to me is a huge thing, whether it takes 24 hours to get here now or not, I can wait another day."
2 calls today from @AirCanada No status updates. The fault lies with Terminal 2 at Heathrow New Co. hired to do baggage for Star Alliance— Stephen Fearing (@StephenFearing) August 28, 2014
The Linda Manzer guitar
Fearing's Linda Manzer was purchased in Toronto in 1990 when he visited Linda at her shop and says he fell in love with one of her handmade guitars, the one he has kept with him to this day.
"I was playing an old Guild at that time and it was falling apart," said Fearing. "I sat there for three hours and played this guitar she had that was not for sale and fell in love."
He called an hour later begging for the guitar.
"The rest is history."
Other Manzer guitars have gone to Pat Metheny and Bruce Cockburn. Her Endangered Species Model guitar was commissioned by the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Other musicians, too, have made waves with lost or broken luggage. In 2009, Dave Carroll of the band Sons of Maxwell made an international fuss with his song United Breaks Guitars following an incident on a flight the year before.