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Dec 21

American Airlines, et al: No humor – no social

Poor American Airlines, they had a PR fiasco due to kicking Alec Baldwin off a flight. We get it, FAA regulations are no laughing matter, and your staff was apparently just doing their jobs. But did posting a rebuttal on Facebook actually help the situation?

Alec Baldwin has been joking about the incident, and that has definitely lightened the mood. In fact, he has done more to minimize the PR situation than AA has.

But what does AA do?

Oh, I’m sorry, I nearly nodded off from the poorly-written, pointless rationale written by a PR intern under the direction of a manager who thought it would be effective to post this message to Facebook. Here is a beautiful opportunity to get attention for your business, and you come off as a dry, stiff, unfriendly, lawyer-reviewed entity with absolutely no heart.

It doesn’t matter that you were right. This isn’t a court of law. The court of public opinion plays by different rules. What we will remember is that you can’t be bothered to put a human touch on your product. By the way, we still remember that you were the first airline to screw us over by charging for the first checked bag.

So what could AA have done? Maybe asked to be part of the joke. Get Alec in an AA commercial. Perhaps even persuade him to provide a public service announcement of why the regulations exist. Maybe their response could have stated that the pilot just lost a game of Words With Friends to Mr. Baldwin, and may have been bitter about that. They could have lightened the mood, and made people laugh.

American Airlines certainly hasn’t put much focus on being a friendly airline. Looking at their website shows a more serious airline, which doesn’t seem to put an emphasis on enjoying travel or making things pleasant for travelers. Whereas Delta loves to fly, and United gives you the friendly skies, American has always taken a more stoic stance. So if they refuse to look friendly to the public, their response should have been said:

“American Airlines, keeping you safe and on-time, even if we have to kick celebrities off our planes.”

Lighten up AA. If you refuse to be human beings, get off social media. It’s not doing you any good.

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