September 27, 2016

U.S. Airways Accidentally Responds to a Complaint with an X-Rated Link


u.s. airways tweet

Talk about the worst of all customer service disasters. . .#FAIL, anyone?

How about responding to complaints from a disgruntled customer with a link to an X-rated photo? Well, that’s exactly what happened to U.S. Airways recently.

The airline was responding to a customer complaint about the service the passenger had received on a recent flight. The unhappy passenger Tweeted her dissatisfaction. A U.S. Airways employee with access to the company’s Twitter account reportedly responded to the complaint. That person apparently meant to paste a link to a website that allows customers to log formal complaints to the company.

Instead, the employee posted a link to a pornographic photo.

The Tweets from U.S. Airways were not on the social media site for very long, only about an hour. But the error was quickly made viral, an example of how a single customer service misstep can end in disaster. In the Twitterverse, an hour is plenty of time for a post to be seen and shared with millions. U.S. Airways deleted the Tweet and offered an apology later that same day.

The company tried to explain it away as an accident that occurred when someone at the airline tried to flag the link as inappropriate. The latest reports suggest that the employee responsible for sending the lewd photo to the disgruntled customer will not be fired.

But reporting on an official statement CNN Money quoted a company spokesperson as saying:

“We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future.”

U.S. Airways Photo via Shutterstock

5 Comments ▼
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Joshua Sophy - Assistant Editor


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Assistant Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 17 years of experience in traditional and online media, Joshua got his start in the newspaper business in Pennsylvania. His experience includes being a beat reporter covering daily news. He eventually founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown. Joshua supervises the day-to-day operations of Small Business Trends' busy editorial department including the editorial calendar and outgoing assignments.

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5 Reactions

  1. Did the employee just paste the link in and not see what they did, not read the tweet?

    How did the link stay up there for that long without anyone from the company noticing the error? An hour’s a long time.

    • Aira Bongco

      I am wondering about the same thing. Was that intended? If it is not on purpose, does that mean that their employees are allowed to follow those links during work time?

      • The mind boggles, Aira. I did think perhaps the employee was viewing that link for their own entertainment, but then wouldn’t US Airways’ have a system in place that automatically blocks anyone within the company from viewing x-rated sites?

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