By Shashank Nigam

Thanks to David Parker Brown, I was alerted to a security situation on American Airlines flight 24 (AA24), bound to New York from San Francisco as someone had called in a threat to the jetliner. Thankfully, within a few hours all passengers had de-planed and gone through security checks and no one was hurt.

Crises Management 2.0 – Live on Twitter!

While the situation was unfolding, there were at least two passengers (@cmckella & @jaysears) on board the airplane who were tweeting away regular updates of the situation from their perspective, which included photos of the cabin and cops around the aircraft. Soon enough, major newspapers and news channels were quoting these two for the most current information about what’s happening on-board the aircraft.

Though, it wasn’t long till American Airlines’s Twitter account (@aairwaves) jumped into the middle of the arena and took on the queries head-on. It seemed like they had read our infographic on crises handling through social media (see below), because AA did a good job at it.

Infographic – Five steps to successful crisis management for airlines, in the age of social media

Here is a graphical journey of AA24 on Twitter

Passengers Jay Sears and Campbell McKeller sent out tweets every couple of minutes from inside the plane, which were very detailed. It started with them sharing the situation with their friends, before the media caught wind of the situation and started tapping on them too.

How American Airlines’ @AAirwaves took control of the situation

  1. They engaged directly with Jay and Campbell, who were on-board the airplane
  2. They started to answer queries from the local media
  3. They calmed nerves by ensuring transparency in the situation by clearly stating the cause of the incident (a phone call, not a hijacking attempt).
  4. They became the go-to source of information for anyone interested in the incidence, as can be seen from the final screen shot of the “AA24″ search on Twitter, where a majority of the retweets are originating from @AAirwaves

In essence, American Airlines did a commendable job of keeping things straight during the crisis, and engaging with the key stake holders directly. They looked well prepared for a situation like this, and have set the bar high for other airlines to follow.

Great job, @AAirwaves! For this feat, their effort is also being featured on SimpliFlying’s Clever Airlines.

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