Fail: The infamous NSFW US Airways tweet – for posterity

Fail: The infamous NSFW US Airways tweet – for posterity

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Twitter Warning Sign

Twitter Fail - US Airways TweetAlthough this isn’t breaking news anymore, the pornographic US Airways tweet has been recorded here for posterity.

It’s further evidence that large brands also suck at using social media.

People rarely express love for an airline on Twitter, so by now I’m sure that US Airways is used to handling a large amount of customer complaints via their @USAirways account.

One user, however, got the shock of a lifetime when the airline directed her to a very unusual suggestion box.

Here’s how it went down

Someone tweeted a pornographic picture to a Twitter account that was managed by US Airways.

Due to the content of the photograph, I’ve elected not to show it here.

Let’s just say it involved a very graphic image of a woman’s ladyparts and a model airplane taking a nose dive.

It was about as raw and pornographic as you could imagine. If you search the web, I’m sure you can find it on your own.


Someone tweeted the image to an account managed by US Airways. A staff member using social media management software went to report the image to Twitter, and through a simple human error ended up attaching it to another tweet.

Unfortunately, that tweet was a response to a legitimate customer complaint. And it looked a little something like this:

The initial complaint and Twitter discussion

As you can see below, it started with Elle complaining about a US Airways flight.
US Airways Tweet - Initial Complaint Discussion

The pornographic @USAirways Tweet (NSFW)

Remember how I said I would not show the tweet here?

Well, here’s a highly modified version. It’s the best I can do.

And I’d still classify this as NSFW (Not Safe For Work.)

US Airways Tweet - Censored

I think Elle summed it up best with her next Tweet:

Yikes, indeed Elle.

The apology and fallout

US Airways did not remove the offensive image/tweet until about an hour later. They eventually responded with this:

And The Internet goes wild…

As stated before, much has been written about this incident already.
There are three highlights I’ll leave you with, for posterity of course.

  1. Social media dashboards/tools don’t always make your life easier. Indeed these tools are time savers, but sometimes they can breed complacency. 
  2. They didn’t fire the person/team responsible. It’s just human error. No one died (as far as I know.) I think the airline did the right thing here.
  3. Comedians got a lot of material/mileage out of this. Some of my favorites are below.

As always, we want to hear from you

What do you think of the US Airways tweet fail? Do you think they handled it correctly?

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