British Airways loses luggage, Twitter user gets (expensive) revenge

Many years ago British Airways lost my luggage and, yesterday, the same happened to Hasan Syed. I didn't have Twitter. He did.

Many years ago I flew to a very warm Dallas from a very cold Heathrow via British Airways. Unfortunately my luggage had other plans and went to Singapore so I was left wearing a track suit in 100F weather.

When I asked the Dallas B.A. office where my luggage was, they had no clue so I phoned their Heathrow office which told me where it was headed. They couldn't explain why it was headed there but said they'd let Dallas know. I went to my hotel, sweating.

Next day, 99F outside. No luggage and no word from B.A. I called the Dallas officeand they still didn't know where my luggage was.

The following day (back to 100F) the Dallas office knew where my luggage was but didn't know when it would arrive

The next day (only 90F) they had found it ... and told me it would arrive the following day at 8AM.

By 10AM that next day (now 101F) my luggage was still AWOL and when I called they said yes, it had arrived but I wouldn't see it until 6PM or 7PM because they had many stops to make. It was at that point I turned around and kicked a chair. This was not a good idea as I broke my big toe.

If only that had happened in the Twitter era I might have done what Twitter user Hasan Syed, the president of a company called Salon Commodities, did when British Airways lost his luggage on Monday, September  2. Hasan experienced the "we don't know where your luggage is" problem as I did so rather than taking it out on an innocent chair he not only turned to Twitter to vent, he also reached into his pocket and had Twitter promote his tweets to all BA followers! Here's the first one:

British Airways obviously doesn't have much of a social media strategy because it took them 8 hours to respond and then they just made themselves look even more disorganized:

It seems that that's the story so far as Hasan, presumably jet-lagged, gave up and went to bed.

Yep, that is definitely something we want to know: Just how much does this kind of revenge cost?

The whole fracas has been pretty widely followed and shows what happens when you not only fail to do what you've told the customer you'll do and then your customer service fails to make the failure palatable but you then have no social media strategy to deal with a very public customer.

Very entertaining and perhaps one of the best examples I've seen showing what your company shouldn't do with social media.

Gibbs' toe is still bent at an odd angle. Comment below or to Follow Gibbs on, and Facebook.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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