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Public relations fail

February 15th, 2010 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 10 Comments · Life

I’m no expert in PR, but even I can see that upsetting a customer who has 1.64 million followers on Twitter (many of them fanatical)  is going to stretch the old saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity to breaking point.  ((Top tip: try quoting that saying to the Toyota PR department if you want to see an example of spontaneous human combustion!))

Looking forward to listening to this week’s SModcast!  The fact that it is called “SModcast 106: Go F— Yourself Southwest Airlines” on iTunes is a bit of an indication that he has not been mollified…

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Ash

    Southwest has had the same policy of making fat people buy 2 seats for the last 30 years – to the general support of their customers – 90% of the complaints they get are from passengers who have been cramped into their seat by a fat guy sitting next to them.

    Considering that this guy is hardly what you would class as poor, I cant see why he thinks he is exempt from the policy.

  • Danivon

    > I cant see why he thinks he is exempt from the policy.

    He doesn’t. He bought a second seat for himself. He also bought a ticket for his wife, but it turned out she wasn’t going. So he’d actually paid for three tickets.

    However, he ended up on a standby seat. It wasn’t until he’d been through check-in and the gate and sat down that he was told to get off.

    Under the circumstances, I can see why he’s livid.

    • Skuds

      Have you listened to the 90-minute podrant? Interesting stuff.

      He repeats himself quite a bit, but I think it was recorded while he was still wound up.

      His point really was that he can actually fit in a seat – with the armrests down – and can do up the seatbelt without an extender, but normally buys an extra seat anyway for his own convenience.

      Love the bit about how, as he was being escorted off the plane, he noticed a much fatter bloke silently pleading not to be pointed out.

      Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the policy and whether it actually exists, I think the real problem was the crass way of carrying it out, lack of discretion, lack of organisation and absence of any customer service.

      Be interesting to see how it all pans out.

  • Ash

    Skuds – if you are looking for good quality customer service then perhaps its best not to used low-cost airlines – their record is not that good in that department.

  • Danivon

    Is that an admission that you commented in haste about Smith’s attitude to the ‘rules’, Ash?

    It’s one thing to expect poor service from a budget airline. It’s quite another for them to decide to refuse to serve you. Hey, I may not expect leather seats and decent meal from EasyJet, but at least they get me to where I’m going (a bit late and thirsty, but to a destination)

    Skuds – I didn’t listen to the podrant. A sample of the tweets was enough to get an idea of what was going on.

  • Danivon

    When I got to the end of his podcast, I was wondering what the woman on his second flight was thinking – and then I noticed that he’d got her to speak on the next one.

  • Danivon

    Yeah, that was annoying in the first rant. As was his wife’s “oh my” bits every now and then.

    But hey, SWA were being asshats, and he made some pretty good films, so he’s forgiven 🙂