Top Five Social Media Fails By Airlines

Whilst we have paid heavy attention to the airline social media success stories, we also need to remember that every so often they do get it terribly wrong. Take a look at our top five list of absolute airline fails, and be ready for the face palm.



US Airways pornographic tweet

Most major airlines use their Twitter feeds to keep followers updated on the aviation industry. The information is normally quite generic, and exceptionally sensible. However, on the 14th of April 2014, the responsible status quo of airlines on Twitter received quite the interruption; US Airway’s ‘accidental’ tweet of a pornographic image, which involved a lady with a ‘toy’ airplane (need I say more?), caused a social media outrage.

At first instance, most assumed that this was an unfortunate case of a Twitter hijack, surely no one who worked in PR could think this was a good idea? However, as it happens this was an inside job – not an intentional inside job, but an inside job all the same. It took US Airways a whole hour to remove the explicit image, and apologise. But as one tweeter suggested – ‘you can’t delete from the internet.’

[Picture: Twitter]


American Airlines respond to every tweeter

American Airlines effort to respond to every Tweet meant that their followers began to test their theory, and wrote to them with insulting comments about their service.

The real problem with this strategy is that they left their response Tweets down to an automated service, so it was never personalised. The result, as seen above, meant that American Airlines looked rather stupid.

[Picture: Flickr: Brett Farmilo]


Delta Airlines thinks giraffes live in Ghana

This very recent social media fail, has left Delta Airlines being tarnished with insults such as ‘ignorant’ and ‘stupid’. So, what exactly happened…? When the US football team won their first game of the World Cup on Monday evening, the major American airline wanted to congratulate their win – seems fairly harmless, right? Well, it was until they assumed that a picture of a giraffe would be the best way to represent the Ghana side.

Giraffes are not native to Ghana, and the mishap rang alarm bells for many who were stunned that such a major airline would be so blinded in their geographical judgement.

[Picture: enjosmith on flickr]



It seemed like such a good idea, ask your Twitter followers to tell you their dream luxury in flight experience, and the best tweeter will win a prize. The only rules set out by the airline company are that it must include the # Qantas, and it has to be creative. What could possibly go wrong? Within the first hour of the competition going live, people were certainly tweeting, it just wasn’t what the Qantas PR had expected. Instead of tweeting different example of luxury travel, people were attacking the airline company;

ABC radio’s PM presenter Mark Colvin, @Colvinius said: “Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire. #qantasluxury”

@GrogsGamut tweeted: “#QantasLuxury- when the passengers arrive before the couriers delivering the lockout notices do”

[Picture: Twitter]


 United Airlines attacked by not responding to musician David Carrol  

So what happens when an airline breaks a musician’s guitar, and then fails to respond to his complaint via social media? Well, the musician gets his revenge, that’s what. In 2009, David Carroll got on board a United Airline flight to Chicago, whilst seated, Carroll allegedly heard a fellow passenger screech that the baggage handlers were throwing guitars. After looking out of the cabin window, the musician fears had been confirmed, and when he arrived at his destination, his $3, 500 guitar was severely damaged.

Carroll warned the airline, through social media, that he would write a hit song and post it on YouTube if nothing was done. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t listen. Carroll carried out his threat, and the results were something no one could have predicted. The video on YouTube went viral, a documentary was made, and even a book got published.

[Picture: YouTube]