US Airways has been forced to apologise after sending an image of a woman engaged in a sex act with a toy plane to a customer who complained their flight was late.
The furore kicked off when Twitter user Alex (@Thatkatzkat) took to the micro-blogging platform to complain after her flight was delayed, tweeting: “You ruined my Spring break, I want some free stuff @US Airways H8 YOU,” to the airline.
In an unconventional response however the airlines social media team responded: “'We don’t like to hear this, Alex. Please provide feedback to our Customer Relations team here,” before linking to the graphic image.
The explicit picture was distributed to all 418,000 of the airlines followers for a full 22 minutes before being taken down, stoking a social media firestorm in the process.
Amongst those to comment were those who empathised with the unfortunate Twitter manager whilst others couldn’t help but laugh.
Can't enjoy the US Airways tweet as much as I should because I empathise too much with the jolt of fear the person who did it must have felt
— Periwinkle Jones (@peachesanscream) April 15, 2014
The key to a great business is all about product placement...... Am I right @USAirways ?
— Strombone (@strombone1) April 14, 2014
Issuing a more measured statement later US Airways said: “We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.”
We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.
— US Airways (@USAirways) April 14, 2014
It is thought the tweet may have been an in-house joke which was inadvertently made public.