Quit Rage-Tweeting at the Airlines

If you have a canceled or delayed flight, you might be tempted to take out your phone and tweet furiously to the big verified account associated with your airline. Aside from the fact that this won’t magically get your flight back on track, there are good reasons why you really shouldn’t be tweeting angry airlines (or any big companies).

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You are simply pursuing a digital worker who has no say in the running of the company.

I have worked on the social and digital teams of several news media companies. My job was to tweet stories written by other journalists and I could see the replies to the messages. I have never been responsible for what stories were written, how they were written, or even how or when they were presented online. Furious replies: “IS THIS news?” and “Why aren’t you covering XYZ?” come to mind – made it clear that no one who tweets on the accounts really understands this.

The editors, producers, and reporters responsible for causing indigestion in readers that day were rarely, if ever, aware of the small fits occurring in responses because they weren’t doing their job. Their roles were completely segregated, and while there were channels through which I could communicate to interested parties an angry tweet from some reader, I was usually not inclined to do so after being treated with such disrespect, even when twitter did not realize that they were really just ranting about some 24-year-old man with no power over editorial decisions.

All of this means that the same goes for almost all large companies. Do you really believe that the CEO of Delta is following the company’s Twitter account, or that your American Airlines pilot will see your outrage and accusation? No, some digital employee or, even worse, a third-party social media manager will do it, and this person can take care of the problem at any time. It will take time for them to get your message across to someone who is at least slightly involved in the problem, especially when they receive a lot of such messages daily.

By far the brightest and funniest example of this was given to us over Memorial Day weekend. A Twitter user with 33 followers posted on Delta’s official account claiming they are “waiting for Daisy” to “fix things” regarding their flight. They used seven question marks and two exclamation points. The Delta account – again run by real, live people not part of the C Suite or the cab – incredibly replied, “Can you calm down and give me some time to work, please??”

They assured the client that they were contacting support on their behalf, which is important to note. Yes, sometimes the person managing the account at the time of your tweet can do something actionable. You can be rebooked or otherwise compensated, but you can achieve similar results by talking to customer service directly, either at the airport or by phone, all without terrorizing someone whose other main job duties might include launching contrived memes to promote the brand .

you look like a dick

In one of the jobs where I worked on a digital team, we were expressly banned from tweeting at companies because our personal social media accounts were verified and identified where we worked. Simply put, my employer didn’t want to appear like they had a bunch of rude people on staff or, since we work in the media, end up being accused of bias if the poster in question was ever supposed to be covering the company they angrily wrote to. on Twitter. .

You may not be a journalist with any kind of biased ethics to fight, but you still don’t want to look like an asshole, especially if your Twitter is tied to your professional online presence. Even if it’s not, you’ll look like an irritable clown. For example, in a now-viral exchange between an angry Twitter account and a Delta account, the original angry post received only 438 likes. Delta’s response is approaching 36,000. Of course, out of the 34 replies to the original tweet, many come from people expressing regrets about travel like this, so if you’re looking for comfort and camaraderie, not results, a company tweet can get you what you’re looking for, but then again, you’ll still look like a dick.

What to do instead

Staffing issues, especially after COVID-related mask-wearing requirements have been lifted and weather play a big role in airline struggles, and since these factors are out of your control, you can still understandably get frustrated when your flight is not going according to plan. If the change occurs while you are at the airport, immediately find a member of staff who can advise you on how best to proceed and possibly offer you a hotel voucher or rebooking. If this happens while you are away from the airport, call customer service as soon as possible. You are still a paying customer and some recourse is due to you. Here’s a guide on how to contact a real person on the phone , no matter which airline you’re flying with.

To the best of your ability, book your trip with delays or cancellations in mind . Try to adjust your schedule if possible.

Remember that airline employees, from check-in agents to social media managers, are people too. Treat them kindly and with respect. It’s really not their fault and they’ll be more inclined to pull the strings or go above and beyond for you if you’re being respectful.


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