I don't know why he was denied a seat, maybe because it was around the holidays and they gave priority to living people.
I have shipped or carried many guitars using the airlines in my lifetime, more than I can count, and the rule in my book is simple. Expect rough handling and pack accordingly. I agree with Ned on the case quality.
Gibson's cases, as good as they are, are not suited for airline travel unless that guitar is within eyesight at all times. My 10K Les Pauls won't travel unless they're in a case and with me in my car or truck, or in a locked unbreakable if you run it over with a truck type case.
I can't imagine how the guitar became caught where it shows in the picture, and maybe even the best case made wouldn't have help one bit, but those are all judgment calls and I would rather not take those chances based on the case quality.
I have to agree with Ned in that Gibson has greased the slope. You can't do for one without doing for all.
My children are all asleep in their cases right now waiting for the alarm to go off. And Tim, emotionally over the top is the time my wife threw my keys to me while playing my ES-355 Lucille. They hit the upper part of the body and left a good sized dent. I didn't speak to her for over a month.