Airlines Can’t Keep Up With Customers’ Social Media Complaints

Flickr user Patcard

Days after the son of an irate passenger bought a promoted tweet to shame British Airways, a second European airline is feeling the sting of a social media barrage aimed at its alleged ineptitude.

Air Berlin flight 8109 took off on August 9 without a single piece of checked baggage for the 200 passengers on board. Making matters even worse, it couldn’t locate any of the bags for weeks, causing a storm of Twitter complaints and a Facebook page devoted to the debacle.

That one incident would be bad enough, but according to Slate.com, Air Berlin also lost the musical instruments of two high-profile touring bands, one from Sweden and the other from Canada. The Toronto-based Metz vented their frustrations on Twitter, first to announce their gear was lost and again, two weeks later, to announce they’d finally recovered their instruments.

Scrolling down the airline’s Twitter page, visitors are met with apology after apology by the airline for missing baggage. Compliments on great service are hard to find.

How much of an impact are the angry Facebook posts and tweets really having? It’s obvious from the most recent complaints that Air Berlin hasn’t fixed the problems. Despite Hasan Syed’s tweet which received more than 25,000 impressions, British Airways has yet to respond publicly. Doctor Who and Torchwood fan favorite actor John Barrowman let his 217,000 followers know when he had an issue with a late departure and faulty seat on his Delta Airlines flight, but didn’t provide a promised update of a potential resolution.

From personal experience, I can say angry tweets aimed at Delta Airlines for a disastrous overseas flight in June never received a response. (Although to be fair, they did respond later after my wife logged an official complaint. More than 30 days after the initial complaint, but hey, Delta is rarely on time for anything.)

Have you used social media to lodge a complaint against an airline? What’s been the end result? Does social media shaming work or are old-fashioned complaint calls still the best way to vent your frustration?

Iceland by the numbers

After reading Brenda Yun‘s piece on Iceland (the most recent Photo of the Day), memories of the Blue Lagoon‘s warm waters rushed back to me … as it did yesterday, when I saw Slate’s coverage of the country’s economic collapse. When I came home from Iceland back in June, I joked that its population was roughly the size of my neighborhood’s. Thanks to Slate, I have confirmation. Thanks to Nathan Heller, I can now say with confidence that Iceland’s population of 313,000 is slightly less than that of Manhattan‘s Upper West Side, which, I learned, is around 2,600 miles away.

Reinforcing the notion that now is the time to visit Europe’s most remote corner, the Blue Lagoon’s average temperature is 100 degrees, even in winter! So, make their loss your gain. Hey, had the locals heeded the word on the street, they would have known that the economy was about to tank.

When the waters have worked their magic, head back into Reykjavik to witness the street protests that have occurred every Saturday since the middle of October. Despite the cold, outraged locals gather to call for the jobs of the leaders who sent the economy swirling down the drain.

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April showers are early: Here’s help

We’re getting rain –again. When I drove up SR 23 Monday night after a quick trip to southeastern Kentucky, I could see the river ‘s waters shimmering, higher than normal. These are the days when having a decent umbrella on hand can save you from getting drenched and uncomfortable–maybe. If you get caught in one of Taiwan’s torrential rain, lots of luck. I remember wringing out my socks in a restaurant bathroom sink once.

One thing I like about one kind of umbrella in Taiwan is the plastic covering that folds like a plastic foldable cup, one section tucking into another when the umbrella is open. The compressed cup is at the top of the umbrella while the umbrella is in use. After you close the umbrella, the “cup” expands as each section slides over the nylon fabric and ribs until all are covered. The idea is that the covered umbrella does not allow water to drip over the floor. It kind of works. I did bring one back to the U.S. with me, but I don’t know where it is anymore. Such is the life of an umbrella.

Lisa Shin dove into the life of an umbrella a few years ago, vowing to try several to find the best. Her findings are here in this Slate article I came across when searching for info on the Taiwan style umbrella. No luck with that, but, from what I can tell, according to Shin, a cheap umbrella bought in Chinatown might work just fine. She details several umbrellas with pros, cons and prices of each. I was floored that someone would pay more than $20 for an umbrella. How about close to over $200!! They are so hard to keep track of. Are people nuts?