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Angry Customer Buys Promoted Tweets To Bash British Airways 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-make-the-money-if-you're-not-going-to-enjoy-spending-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After the airline lost his father's luggage (and presumably was less than helpful in resolving the issue), one man decided to use Twitter's self-serve ad platform to issue a warning to fellow travelers in the New York and UK markets. The tweets have gotten the attention not only of media outlets, but also of fellow airlines. A JetBlue executive even retweeted it. While companies use the platform to target customers, it's interesting to see it being turned around."
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Angry Customer Buys Promoted Tweets To Bash British Airways

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  • Libel lawsuit in 3... 2... 1...

    • by Cyberax (705495)
      Not possible. There's nothing libelous in the statement that some company's service is bad, since there's no accepted absolute scale of good/bad service.

      If he claimed that BA's flight attendant raped him and killed his mother - that would definitely be a libel.
    • Yes, because corporate libel actions have such a good track record of making the allegedly libelled plaintiff look good. [wikipedia.org]
  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @02:44PM (#44749841)

    because of this one tweet. it opened my mind to how evil this company is burning customers' luggage for the fun of it

    thank you thank you thank you

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Avoid United while you're at it. I hear they break guitars [youtube.com].

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by alen (225700)

        people need to learn how to pack fragile objects
        no one is going to take special care for your one package and make the plane late.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          I know, how dumb of that guy to only pack his guitar in something specially designed to keep guitars safe. He should have built an iron cage around it, right?
          • by alen (225700)

            i've had to load 747's full of bags. we threw them on the plane

            same here, unless he locked the case to make sure it won't open accidentally it probably opened when they threw it into one of those boxes they use to hold luggage inside the plane

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              Perhaps you should stop making suppositions about things where the truth is known?
            • by tompaulco (629533)

              i've had to load 747's full of bags. we threw them on the plane

              same here, unless he locked the case to make sure it won't open accidentally it probably opened when they threw it into one of those boxes they use to hold luggage inside the plane

              Um, if you lock your bag then you have something to hide according to the TSA and they will break your lock or your case to get in and look.

            • by Molochi (555357)

              Or the baggage handler or TSA person opened the lock to see if the hardcase held a model to add to his collection.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          people need to learn how to pack fragile objects
          no one is going to take special care for your one package and make the plane late.

          I cast my guitar in carbonite whey I fly. Works great for fidgetty kids, too!

        • by msauve (701917) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @04:08PM (#44750867)
          But that's the thing. They were taking special care, deliberately abusing what were obviously fragile musical instruments.

          If your guitar, packed in a non-ATA case, gets crushed because turbulence causes some other package to land on it in flight, that's the traveler's problem. If it's broken because an airline employee deliberately throws it to the ground 10 feet below instead of putting it on the conveyor like the other luggage, that's the airline's problem - regardless of what the contract says.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Avoid them because they suck, not because they sometimes break stuff.

        • by alen (225700)

          i haven't flown them for years, but how do they suck? you pay money, you get on plane. you pay to take luggage with you.
          sometimes weather happens along with other things and planes get delayed. sometimes luggage is lost. that's why anything expensive you always carry on yourself and never check it in.

          and i've always hated the people that bring the huge bags on aircraft taking up all the space. i have no problem with airlines making them check it in

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @03:16PM (#44750291)

            I have been on flights that were overbooked, planes that were broken only to be discovered after we boarded and delays extending past 12 hours. To be extra jerks they of course just made the delay one or two hours at a time so they could avoid compensating us for food or toiletries. Shit happens, but how they handle it is beyond poor customer service.

            People bring those bags aboard because airlines seem to love to lose or break stuff. If Fedex can manage 99%+ delivery to the right place at the right time surely the airlines could too.

            • by alen (225700)

              same here
              planes are complex machines, they break. one time i saw an engine leak oil from my seat. the point is don't expect them to spend $100 for a hotel or whatever if you spent $200 on a flight. that's air travel.

              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                I have different expectations. When I spend $800 on a flight round trip I do expect a $100 hotel if they fuck up. Not my problem. Air travel is like that because we allow it. Honestly I think that they should start having to refund a percentage of the ticket cost for every half hour they are late, if the problem is within their control like a broken plane.

              • You payed for a travel from A to B in reasonable and fast time. If their job to provide the travel. If they don't, why would they be running a company?

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @04:01PM (#44750799) Homepage

              Presumably you are talking about your experience in the US, because that kind of shit would never be allowed in the EU. You have a right to food, accommodation and compensation. I don't know why US consumers put up with being treated that way.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Anonymous for odvious reasons...

            Dont do Business with United Airlines. I used to answer phones for a travel website (that I wont mention, but they're still around.) and recieved a call from a grieving, crying father who was so upset he could barely talk for the first 10 minutes.

            This was in 2002, with 9/11 fresh on everyone's minds still. The guys son was on a flight from one end of the country to another, where to where I dont recall anymore but it doesn't matter. He had a heavy middle-eastern accent, an

          • by houghi (78078)

            that's why anything expensive you always carry on yourself and never check it in.

            Sometimes you will not be allowed to take the expensive stuff as carry on. e.g. camera equipment. That goes easily in the thousands of dollars very fast.

            What I heard a person do is take a flare gun (unloaded) and put it in the case and then fill out the forms that there is a firearm in the case and you can bet your sweet ass, they are doing almost everything to not loose your case with the firearm.
            http://traveltips.usatoday.com [usatoday.com]

  • 4 hours to respond (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schneidafunk (795759) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @02:48PM (#44749907)
    Think about this, BA did not respond to this paid & highly public tweet until 4 hours later. If they are that bad at dealing with publicity, I imagine their customer service on a daily (semi-private) basis must be 10 times worse.
    • Poorly paid public facing people make the problem orders of magnitude worse.

    • by firex726 (1188453) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {627xerif}> on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @02:53PM (#44749961)

      I assume for something so odd and unexpected it took them a bit to properly prepare their response.

      Marketing guy would have to take it to his Mgmt and him to his, etc... then it'd have to debate on how to respond then it' have to be passed back down the chain and done. Last thing you want is for it to go south and you be THAT GUY that messed it up. Name of the game is covering your ass, especially on high publicized portional PR nightmares.

    • by alen (225700) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @02:54PM (#44749985)

      he tweeted it 7:57pm. in england its the middle of the night
      in the US people are relaxing with families

      this will really turn me off from flying BA because they didn't respond to a tweet at night

    • I work for a company that has "social media" outlets... and at one point I was put in charge of it. Let's be clear, social media fucking sucks. You can have a Facebook page, you can tweet, you can post every 20min and no-one will pay any attention unless you have some kind of contest, at which point every script kiddy in the country is going to write a bot and undermine the event.

      When it comes to responding to messages its not quite as bad, but really what can you do? In most cases people post something at

    • Well, how long do you think it should take to contact the corporate lawyers and have them decide if they should respond and what they should say?
  • But I wouldn't expect them to keep this power. Just like retail stores rid themselves of picketers by building shopping malls (you can't picket on private property, so pickets can only be at the street entrance to the mall property which severely hampers their effect on individual stores). No doubt they'll figure some way to take the wind out of these sails. Freedom of speech only belongs to those with money...
    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      I have never even heard of people picketing a store. Does this happen?

      • I've seen it at strip malls. And WalMart.

        The thing is though it's really no different from regular malls. The picketers have to stay off private property which means the they need to be pretty far away from the store if it has a good sized parking lot.

        It really has nothing to do with whether or not the store is in a mall, and everything about how much parking there is between the store and the street.

      • Stores have been known to be picketed, but you don't see it much anymore. Picketing a store with it's own parking lot is a lot more effective though, than picketing a store with a huge shared parking lot-- I've seen it happen, people picketing at an entrance to a mall parking lot, but there are usually many entrances, and it's tough to cover them all with a small crew, and the problem being, a mall may have hundreds of stores, you don't know who's crossing the picket line and who's not. Customers may just
      • by danbert8 (1024253)

        We have unions out protesting in front of various businesses because they used non-union labor for things. Of course I don't think they have actual union people out protesting. They probably hire out non-union people for that...

        • Unions are not the only picketers. Sure it was common for unions to picket, but private citizens or individual employees have been known to as well. Not much point though if you are one person with an issue at one store, even an independent one, that's in a space in a 250-store mall with a huge paking lot.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      I'm less than outraged? Why should you be allowed to trespass?

    • by neminem (561346)

      Right, those with money. This *was* a person with money, which he used to buy promoted tweets. Did you even read the title? :p

  • They might lose luggage more if it results in others paying to promote their brand name! Folks down the road won't remember why BA is in the forefront of their subconscious when they go to purchase tickets... Smart of Jet Blue to try to get in on the attention too.

    This is one of the big problems with trying to warn folks off bad service, you really need to promote every company save the one you aren't a fan of or it just ends up good for them in the long run.

    • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @03:20PM (#44750335) Homepage

      They might lose luggage more if it results in others paying to promote their brand name! Folks down the road won't remember why BA is in the forefront of their subconscious when they go to purchase tickets... Smart of Jet Blue to try to get in on the attention too.

      This is one of the big problems with trying to warn folks off bad service, you really need to promote every company save the one you aren't a fan of or it just ends up good for them in the long run.

      All PR is good PR is only something said when there's bad press by people who want to keep their jobs. And it isn't true. If it were everyone on /. would love Microsoft.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "They might lose luggage more if it results in others paying to promote their brand name! "

      Just send your luggage with UPS or Federal Express to the Hotel and back if you must use an extra one besides the one you carry. I use a sturdy metal one (I don't have to carry it, so...)
      The first time I saw that it was some Boy scouts who sent all their gear that way because they'd had been bitten several times.

      I'm sure they lose them too sometimes, but they have better insurance and they bring it home and you don't

  • It is fucking downright dogshit in the mouth awful. Ryanair lost my business forever and ever. Ryanair 's customer service is horrendous + extra charges.
    • Ryanair is fine if you don't bring any luggage beyond your purse/carry-on. Though I wouldn't expect a 5-star inflight meal.

      I know people who travel with no luggage at all... just go to a consignment on arrival to buy some outfits, and donate to a charity before leaving. Works remarkably well for them, and not actually much more expensive than paying overage fees. Also, if they're flying domestically, they get a tax writeoff for the donation (though that bit works better in big countries like Canada or the U

      • by neminem (561346)

        I would never fly Ryanair, because my understanding is that if there's ever any problem, even if it's entirely their fault, their first and only reaction is going to be flipping you the bird, and I don't want to rist that.

        However, while flying Southwest, even though it offers you a whopping 2 free checked bags, I very rarely take advantage of it, because it's just so much *simpler* packing everything into a backpack and stowing it under your seat. You're never worried that your things will get lost, redirec

        • are there airlines that charge you for even a single under-the-seat bag?

          Probably some of the super-ultra-mega discount ones, but I have never flown such an airline. (cheapest/lowest end I've ever personally flown was Air Canada/Jazz... for trips to Europe, I usually take Air France or British Airways depending on where I'm flying to/from, though I've flown Lufthansa, too. My aunt is the one who regularly took Ryanair when she was in Europe).

          Having a change of clothes stuffed in your laptop bag or a backpack isn't a bad idea... the point was mostly about not bringing a suitcase.

          • by neminem (561346)

            And my point is, I stuff my laptop in my backpack, and then stuff *all* my clothes in there with it, and that's all my luggage, unless I'm gonna be gone more than like a week, and I'm going somewhere where there won't be any way to wash clothes.

        • The thing to understand about Ryanair is that it's less an airline and more of a bus with wings. They don't care about you in the same way that the bus service in your city doesn't care about you. They'd like to cram as many people on as can pay the fare, get you to your destination on-time-ish and hustle you off.

          It's not a bad system, but luggage and stuff works exactly as badly as it usually does on the bus. The costs for a bag for an airline are way higher, though, so you can't expect sympathy.

          If you exp

    • I flew Ryanair once, the lavatory was out of service. 'nuff said.

      Ryanair is like a chinatown bus with wings.

    • by will_die (586523)
      The best explanation I have seen is that Ryanair is an experiment to see what people will do for cheap plane tickets.
  • by djbckr (673156) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @03:23PM (#44750369)

    Airlines have been handling luggage for a very long time, you would think they would have this figured out by now.

    Anecdote: I flew Delta quite a bit some years ago and lived about 2 hours/90 miles away from the airport. They would routinely misplace my luggage (never lost it, thankfully) and they had to have somebody drive my bag to my house when they found it. This happened a dozen times. It must have cost them about the price of my ticket for each delivery.

    I can only assume that it was because of the luggage missing connecting flights, but most of the time I had at least an hour layover. It just seems like they could make this work

    • Airlines have been handling luggage for a very long time, you would think they would have this figured out by now.

      UPS and FedEx have been handling packages for a shorter time, handle a very much larger quantity of packages a day, but almost *never* lose a package.

      Maybe the airlines need to just copy what the shipping companies do?

      • by lazlo (15906)

        Either that, or customers should wise up and overnight their luggage to their destination via FedEx. You know, I started writing that sentence aiming for "funny", but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. As the airlines charge more and more for checked bags, the differential cost to have your luggage reliably arrive, and in a probably-less-molested state, will eventually be well worth it.

    • I use to be a frequent flyer with NWA before the acquisition.

      With NWA, I had saved up enough miles for a round-trip ticket to anywhere I wanted (about a $1400 value) and was planning a summer getaway. When Delta purchased them, they converted my miles over to their program. That $1400 value from NWA instantly became $75.

      It comes to no surprise that I will not fly Delta.

      I miss NWA. They had the most helpful and friendly staff; simple attentiveness goes a long ways when you're about to be manhandled by TSA.

    • by Tom (822)

      No system is perfect, and for systems like these, there is a business-optimal point where the cost of increasing the reliability further is higher than the cost of losing or misplacing some luggage.

      That's the real reason behind regulations like the 200 âÂthey have to pay airline customers in the EU for delays of over 2 hours. It's not about giving the customer money, it's about giving the airlines an incentive to be on time.

      And it works. I had two flights this year that were massively delayed, but

  • Relevant quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @04:06PM (#44750855) Homepage

    "Remember: every member of your 'target audience' also owns a broadcasting station. These 'targets' can shoot back."
    -- Michael Rathbun to advertisers, in n.a.n-a.e

  • by Art Challenor (2621733) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @04:44PM (#44751191)
    The "lost" bag was found and is due to be delivered... Does this mean that they didn't start looking for it until the Tweet showed up?

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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