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United Airlines #fail as they kick off 10 year old girl for wearing leggings

United Airlines #fail as they kick off 10 year old girl for wearing leggings

Issue #141

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Screen shot of Washington Post story.


This Sunday I woke up to a facebook post from a friend who happens to be the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.   Shannon Watts was traveling to Mexico on United Airlines and was horrified when she saw the gate agent kick off a ten-year-old girl for wearing leggings.   

She tweeted about it and it was quickly picked up by the media, including the Washington Post.

So, how did United Airlines respond to her?

  • “United shall have the right to refuse passengers who are not properly clothed via our Contract of Carriage. ^FS”
  • “This is left to the discretion of the gate agents. ^FS”

This reminds me of the viral video from 2009 where United refused to acknowledge they broke a musician’s guitar and he then wrote a fun music video that some say destroyed over $180 million in stock value.    In fact, I teach this video in my Digital Marketing class at George Mason University.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Verified Twitter Account (blue check mark).   Before responding in a rote or official way, try to spend a second to figure out who you are interacting with on twitter.   If the United customer service agent on twitter had spent a moment they would have noticed that Shannon is a media personality and has a large following on twitter.    ACTION ITEM:   THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET.
  2. Stop tweeting and digging a hole:    After tweeting out the rote “we are following the rules” this agent simply cut and pasted that response to the 1000’s of people that started to get angry.    ACTION ITEM:  THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET, AGAIN.

The fact that United had this happen to them after the 2009 guitar incident is pretty bad.

What examples do you have of twitter customer management horror stories?

Thank you,

Shaun Dakin – Dakin Associates

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