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I'm Kelcey Blanks, a 23-year-old public relations/marketing professional. I'm obsessed with all things social media. My family, friends and pup make my world go 'round. Clothes, jewelry and shoes make me happier than a kid on Christmas. And chances are I'm already planning my next meal in my head. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Public Relations Disaster: US Airways Pornographic Tweet

This week, US Airways stirred up major controversy when one of its employees tweeted out a very disturbing and pornographic picture. This all came about after an unsatisfied customer tweeted their disappointment over a flight to the airlines. What happened next shocked everyone on Twitter and the social media world and even made headline news.

Retrieved from: washingtonpost.com

According to US Airways, the picture was sent to them and the employee who tweeted it out for the world to see was simply trying to flag the tweet as inappropriate. The airline apologized for the mishap and chalked it up to miscommunication on Twitter. The employee who sent out the tweet was not even fired because it was an accident.

We are used to seeing airlines experience difficulty in the public relations aspect of the industry. Airlines are known for delayed flights, lost luggage, overbooking, etc. These types of things happen all the time, but never has an airline had to deal with lewd photographs sent out on its official Twitter page.

The pornographic tweets were up for about an hour before US Airways realized what had happened. The company did the right thing, though, by clearing up the issue right after it occurred, instead of waiting the standard three days to apologize as most airlines have done in the past.

But should this incident have occurred in the first place? Anyone experienced in using social media should know that things like this could happen in a split second, so you must always check and recheck before posting anything, especially when your Twitter following is as large as US Airways’. The employee who sent out the tweet was not paying attention at all, and probably should be fired for that simple fact alone.

It’s nice and all that US Airways apologized for the mishap, but the apology wasn’t on a broad medium that enough people would even hear about it. I’m sure the situation has to be pretty embarrassing, but you have to make right with the public after something this major has taken place.

American Airlines, which is in the process of merging with US Airways, even issued a public apology on behalf of US Airways. I think everyone could agree that US Airways needs to take responsibility for its own mess. American Airlines has enough problems to deal with on its own.

For now, US Airways remains the laughing stock of the airline industry. Mistakes can happen very easily but it’s all about how you pick yourself up after these situations take place. Hopefully US Airways does more in the upcoming weeks than just a silly apology on social media.

Maybe the company could create a video to display the severity of its apology to post on its website and social media accounts. I hope the airline can pull itself out of the public relations disaster it created and move on from this incredibly embarrassing situation.  

Thomas, R. (2014, April 14). US Airways apologizes for tweeting pornographic photo. In KPHO. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://www.kpho.com/story/25247158/us-airways-apologizes-for-tweeting-pornographic-photo

Murdock, S. (2014, April 14). US Airways Tweets Out VERY NSFW Photo Of Woman With Toy Plane. In Huffington Post. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/14/us-airways-masturbating-photo_n_5148458.html

Mutzabaugh, B. (2014, April 14). US Airways apologizes for lewd photo sent via Twitter. In USA Today. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2014/04/14/us-airways-apologizes-for-lewd-photo-sent-via-twitter/7710713/

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