Perfect storm: JetBlue versus Southwest on Twitter – real incident

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about how airlines can use Web 2.0 tools to connect with their customers. This is a re-post of an article first published on the NewMediaChatter website, where the author re-counted his experience with JetBlue and Southwest Airlines’ Twitter “agents” – and both of these airlines are at the forefront of using this technology. It’s a very interesting story, and offers many lessons to not just airlines, but also other companies looking to tap on this medium. Let’s discuss what you think JetBlue did wrong or Southwest did right.

Special thanks to David Peck, for the permission to re-post this article on SimpliFlying.


Jet Blue, Swing and a Miss.. Southwest Airlines Hits A Twitter Homerun

WEATHER JET BLUE Cancellations

I am back from SXSW. I had a blast. It was one of the best events I have ever been to. So many familiar faces, so many new faces. Im already looking forward to next year. So, let me tell you about my flight back  from Austin last night.

I arrived at the airport 90 minutes early to bard my Jet Blue flight to San Francisco.  I checked my bag, made it through security without setting off the buzzer. Which is always a good thing.  I waited patiently  for my flight to board, had some food from Salt Lick..waited…got a coke.. waited… waited… The flight was suppose to board at 6:30, leave at 6:56 and nothing.  At around 7:00ish I posted this to twitter:


I quickly got this tweet back from @JetBlue:


Oh and then @JetBlue got this:


Oh and this too:


Okay so you get the idea. I posted a frustrated tweet and got a quick response from Jet Blue via twitter.  Pretty cool, huh?

Well here is where the problem begins and I want to make something clear. My post  is not with the flight being late. Nor the “fix engine light” they were getting. I want them to take alllllllllll the time they need to make sure the plane is working. Check it five times for all I care. I just want to get home in one piece. My post is the lack of communication, service  and the fact that I am disappointed by @JetBlue.  If your going to place your brand on a site like Twitter, you need to be ready to react in a timely manner.  So back to the story with pretty twitter pictures.

So then I went to add @JetBlue. I couldn’t… I was blocked by them for some reason. I was a blocked user. So I posted these tweets:




Seems for some reason I couldn’t follow them to send a DM as they asked. Now this might be where the story ends, then I posted this:


Anyone want to bet what happened next? Right! I got this:


That is right! @southwestair who was at SXSW, at around 9:00ish at night, with very little mobile internet service,  was trying to help me! So after some Direct Messaging chatting and such it came to this:


So how awesome was Southwest Airlines? Offering to help, giving me flight options, even offering help the next day if I was stuck!  I was not even flying their airline! Oh and what about @JetBlue?

They did get back to me 5 minutes before we boarded with this Direct Message:

So my point here? Twitter is about real time customer service if your a brand. It is not about posting links all the time, cool videos or such. It is about dealing with your customer and creating positive brand awareness at that moment.   If you are a company, you see an unhappy customer out there,  you need to move quick  and communicate! @JetBlue could of said “got your tweet, will follow up soon” something to let me know they were working on it. Something..just let me know you have not forgot about me. Cause if you do not  your competition will do this:

Or worst..  people will talk about your brand on Twitter like this:



You Get the idea. Oh, here is a video I made while this was all going on..I did not even get into the TV issue, how the Jet Blue folks do not know about their Customer Service on Twitter, (it would of been cool  if they knew a little something about it) oh and check out the end where a passenger mentions  the headset issue. Oh and yes.. this was my first trip on Jet Blue.

So I did make it home about 3 hours later then one piece.  Oh and get this, two ladies say to me in the airport “Are you Dave Peck? We have been following you on Twitter.” Pretty cool huh? Things like that still blow my mind!


Some comments (read the rest on the original article)

Response from Morgan Johnston from JetBlue (see his interview on here)
Hi Dave – thanks for the write up and I appologize that I wasn’t able to keep you informed in a timely manor. You and the others on your flight got to be the recipient of what I’ll strive to make a rare confluence of situations. I too was out in Austin without my computer and was not communicating effectively with my cover in NY. Add to that a random bug that seems to cause our Twitter account to block users – something we’re still trying to understand the cause of – and you get the situation where we aren’t able to assist you on Twitter with the immediacy that you’ve come to expect of us. I hope you’ll forgive us our lapse. Our use of Twitter to provide information to our customers is important to me, but it’s also a new tool and procedures still need to be built that allow for the constant coverage you expect of us.
Another comment…
Like I just said to you on twitter “Oh the power of twitter”. But seriously though, this is a great example of how helpful twitter can be. Go Southwest! Also, I am reading a comment right above mine from Morgan Johnston, who looks like a Jet Blue employee, and I have to give her and Jet Blue credit for responding to your post. It would have been nice if they were around when you needed it last night, but at least they’re up-to-date with everything that is going on.
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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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