Angry Passenger Spends $1K to Blast British Airways on Twitter: Lessons Learned

Angry passenger spends $1K to blast British Airways on Twitter - Lessons learned

Unsatisfied British Airways customer Hasan Syed made headlines this week when he bought $1000 worth of promoted tweets just to voice out his complaints. Apparently, the airline company had lost his father’s luggage in a Chicago –to-Paris flight on August 31.

After 2 days, the airlines still had not responded, and that’s when Hasan turned to Twitter for revenge.


In the first six hours since the tweet was promoted, it earned 25,000 impressions on Twitter alone. It was eventually picked up by several blogs such as Mashable, and its article earned an additional 5000 shares on Facebook and Twitter combined. After two days, the tweets have been seen by more than 50,000 Twitter users in the UK and New York markets where his promoted tweets were targeted.

British Airways’ (lack of) response. Hasan posted the tweets Monday but got a response on Tuesday, due to the airline’s restricted Twitter feed which only opens between 0900-1700 GMT. Naturally, Hasan again mocked the airlines for not having 24-hour response management team on Twitter to address customer complaints. Lesson: If your business operates 24/7, monitor your social media accounts 24/7.

The difference between celebrity and ordinary citizen complaints: Hundreds of rants from regular customers go unnoticed by companies on Facebook and Twitter. But when celebrities like Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian voice out their complaints? Sheer panic. Mainly because celebrities have a huge following, so their complaints spread faster. But Hasan Syed changed all that. By spending his own hard-earned money for promoted tweets, he got the attention he wanted. Lesson: Take every complaint seriously.

The customer service value. Hasan complained because his problem wasn’t fixed even before he posted his tweets. According to one post, he was promised that everything would be resolved after 24 hours, but to no avail. Most customers complain because of the slowness of the action. In a survey of the Top 10 companies with the most complaints on Twitter, the winner (or rather, loser) is AT&T, and the top reason why customers complain is the time they had to wait, be put on hold, or otherwise having a difficult time reaching the relevant people. Lesson: Fix the problem ASAP.

Burying the hatchet. For all intents and purposes, Syed had succeeded. British Airways apologized for its delay in responding to the incident on Twitter itself and his story has been shared by dozens of media outlets. But many are still unconvinced, since the airline NEVER mentioned Hasan’s name during any of its responses. People thought the apology was impersonal, and that the company refused to be sentimental about it. Lesson: Apologize as humanly as possible.