@UnitedAirlanes

August 9, 2013 on 1:00 am | In Airline Social Media, Trivia | No Comments

That is not a mis-spelling.  Someone has started a parody Twitter account entitled “@UnitedAirlanes” and that account has been drawing the ire of customers for United Airlines.

One such example is:

Customer:  OK, I need to be somewhere fast. What is the charge for teleportation? I have one bag, a dog & need a bereavement fare too.

@UnitedAirlanes:  Thanks to customer complaints/the law, we’re no longer able to offer teleportation. Not without the password.

It’s funny and funny enough that I do wonder just how United Airlines will try to shut it down.

And I do find this one particularly funny:

@UnitedAirlanes:  Today only, get 80% off on Earhart-class tickets – cheap, direct international flights consumed by the infinite ocean and never seen again.

For now, enjoy it here:

https://twitter.com/unitedairlanes

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Jeremy Clarkson disses American on Twitter

January 15, 2013 on 1:00 am | In Airline Social Media | No Comments

Jeremy Clarkson is an automotive journalist who writes and serves as the presenter on the original UK based Top Gear automotive show.  He’s known for his outbursts from time to time and his outbursts tend to be very dramatic and almost always offend someone.

It would appear that American Airlines lost his wife’s bag recently and Clarkson took to Twitter to chastise them.  You can see a story about this HERE.

But here is a sampling of his Tweets:

“American Airlines. Literally the worst thing…….in the world.”

“People of the world. DO NOT USE American Airlines.”

“If American Airlines was a country, it would be North Korea.”

And people think I’m rough on them.

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Social Media is more than controlling the story

April 26, 2011 on 1:00 am | In Airline News, Airline Service, Airline Social Media | No Comments

If you fly enough, you’ll have a bad experience on an airline.  It is inevitable and one bad experience does not describe an airline’s ability to delivery service.  Too many people judge airlines on one experience, in my opinion.

Social media can be similar.  One bad rant does not describe an airline.  However, one bad rant does have the potential to become the story.  Recognizing that, many airlines have adopted social media departments to help control the story.  I’m fine with that because why shouldn’t an airline be able to defend itself?

However, then there are the airlines who adopt social media solely to try to control the story and those airlines are missing the picture when it comes to social media.   Participating in the story is just one half of the objective to social media.  The other half is responding. 

In the social media sphere, it’s about quick and timely answers with real solutions.  Some airlines have figured that out, some haven’t.  Some airlines who have figured that out still slip and fall from time to time.  That’s the nature of the game in social media. 

It’s about risk.  Social media is about accepting a certain amount of risk in letting your social media department respond with a certain freedom accepting the idea that vetting an answer or only permitting non-responsive answers isn’t going to promote a good image.  Instead, airines who do this well accept the idea that you cannot always make a bad story go away even when you do answer appropriately.  Think Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines.

Now we have This Rant about American Airlines.  American Airlines doesn’t possess the kind of corporate culture that succeeds in social media.  The first word of advice I would give them is that if you cannot empower your social media team to make something happen, stay out of social media.  Lame responses really are worse than no response and, what’s more, they give your competition an opportunity to poke at you. 

What this gentlemen describes, I’m sad to say, is far more common than it should be.  His experiences are exactly what I have experienced over and over again.  They are the reason why it is a better bet for me to fly SWA or Airtran or Continental with a connecting city than it is to get on AA to fly someplace non-stop.  The really insulting part of it is that if you are flying from an AA hub, you more than likely are paying a higher price for that non-stop flight. 

Furthermore, these kinds of experiences including the social media Twitter response point up to just how little AA does value its customers.

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Did AA’s blog get hijacked?

March 22, 2011 on 1:00 am | In Airline Social Media | 1 Comment

3/23/2011 Update:  Bill Hartzer has placed a comment to this blog asserting he’s real and thanking me for even more links.  He has so far not responded to my question(s) about how he came to assert control over this blog. 

This past weekend, I was thinking about social media and airlines a few days ago as a subject for a future blog post.  Then I remembered that AA had started a blog about 3 years ago and wondered what had happened with it.

You see, since it got “slow rolled” out about 3 years ago, I can’t remember seeing another thing about it.  So I did some searching and found THIS blog.  But that blog doesn’t resemble anything that a corporate giant such as AA should have (and did although it was originally pretty dry in design when done by AA) and so I dug some more.  In fact, it doesn’t resemble any of the screen shots of AA’s effort when it first got introduced.

I verified that my link was the same link that everyone else in the airline world wrote about and it was.  That’s the right link according to all the media who noticed its start in 2008.  However, the blog that is there now is definitely not being run by American Airlines.  Instead, it appears to be run by a man named Bill Hartzer who also has blogs on SEO and home furnishings.

American Airlines originally released the blog on Blogspot claiming that that route (via Blogspot) was both fast and that their customers were already consumers of Blogspot.  It wasn’t tied into the main AA website and from all of my searches, AA still has no real social media going on presently. 

This surprises me not at all since social media requires granting a certain freedom to those operating it that is counter to American Airlines’ corporate culture.  Southwest arguably has the best corporate airline blog but others are doing it and doing it pretty well in some cases.  I suspect blogs make AA executive leadership shiver.

I’ve sent email to Mr. Hartzer (of Mabank, TX) and American Airlines’ PR department but both have so far not answered my inquiries.  My guess is that Mr. Hartzer doesn’t want to get noticed by AA and AA is characteristically burying its head in the sand hoping no one asks the question again.

Mr. Hartzer appears to be one of those SEO gurus that likes to constantly set links to my blog to raise someone else’s search engine results.  They also love to automatically hit your blog with generic comments and links back to their sites they’re working to raise results in.  It’s all noise and bad noise at that. 

In fact, I take note that Mr. Hartzer fancies himself an experienced writer.  If you read his material, you’ll quickly realize that he may be experienced but he sure isn’t any good at it.   In fact, Mr. Hartzer says he’s created hundreds of websites but if you visit http://www.billhartzer.com, you’ll find that he never got very good at at that either.

Seriously, American Airlines, you let someone Bill Hartzer own you like that?  How the hell does a $24 Billion company lose control of something like that?

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