NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- US Airways has a new way of answering customer complaints, and it is causing quite a stir.
On Monday afternoon, US Airways' Twitter (TWTR) account was in the process of responding to a customer's complaint about a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Portland, Ore., originally reported by the site Deadspin. The conversation followed a seemingly normal progression, as shown below:
@USAirways Unhappy that 1787 sat for an hour on tarmac in CLT because overweight, resulting in over hour late arrival in PDX...AAAAAAA¢AAAA Elle (@ElleRafter) April 14, 2014
@ellerafter We truly dislike delays too and are very sorry your flight was affected.AAAAAAA¢AAAA US Airways (@USAirways) April 14, 2014
@USAirways yeah, you seem so very sorry. So sorry, in fact, that you couldn't be bothered to address my other tweets.AAAAAAA¢AAAA Elle (@ElleRafter) April 14, 2014
Until the conversation took a twisted turn. US Airways went on to refer the customer to a link where she could give feedback on her experience with the airline. The only problem was, the link led users to an image of a naked woman with a toy airplane between her legs.
The airline has more than 400,000 followers, and the image was quickly retweeted by thousands. Parodies and jokes soon followed, while the image surprisingly wasn't immediately removed from the airline's Twitter account according to reports.
U.S. Airways went on to issue an apology through its Twitter account Monday night:
We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We've removed the tweet and are investigating.AAAAAAA¢AAAA US Airways (@USAirways) April 14, 2014
American Airlines Group (AAL), US Airways' parent company, said that the photo originated in a tweet sent to American Airlines' Twitter account and was immediately flagged internally. American explained that the photo ended up on US Airways' Twitter account by accident, but that the employee responsible would not be disciplined. US Airways merged with American Airlines in December, creating the largest airline in the world
With all of the negative publicity surrounding the airline's tweet, the original customer who filed the complaint felt somewhat vindicated. She published a tweet last night as well saying:
AAAAAAA¢AAAA Elle (@ElleRafter) April 15, 2014
The irony of today's response from US Airways about my delayed flight from CLT is not lost on me.
The world of Twitter has created a new frontier for corporate advertising, but it is also responsible for some highly publicized public-relations nightmares because of simple copy/paste errors.
At the time of publication, the author had no position in the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.