British Airways Pilots Take Off On Twitter

How BA pilots are gaining a huge following on Twitter and engaging with the airline’s passengers.

British Airways Pilots
British Airways Pilots (Image Credit: British Airways)

Social media has long been a tool used by airlines to engage with their passengers.  YouTube and Instagram allow airlines to share slickly produced videos showcasing new aircraft, cabins and routes.  Snapchat, for those that have embraced it, allows airlines to take passengers behind the scenes and show case live events such as inaugural flights on new routes.

Arguably, the most significant social media tool is Twitter.  But it is something of a double-edged sword for airlines.  At its best, it can be effective tool for rapid responses to customer queries and for distilling information quickly.  But every airline is one tweet away from a social media storm.

Twitter not only provides a direct line of communication between passengers and airlines, but also their staff. And a growing number of BA pilots have amassed quite significant followings on Twitter. Not only that they are starting to co-ordinate their presence under the hashtag #BASMART

Leading the initiative is British Airways A380 pilot Dave Wallsworth who has amassed some 25,000 followers. Dave frequently dispatches updates as he plies BA’s Airbus A380 network to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles.

Here’s a video Dave recorded from the flight deck taking off from Vancouver, bound for London Heathrow:
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Geoff Golberg vs Virgin Atlantic – Another use of promoted tweets to protest against an airline

A little over twelve months ago, we wrote of how Hasan Syed used promoted tweets to vent his frustration against British Airways after his father was separated from his luggage on a journey to Paris.

At the time, we speculated that whilst this was a novel use of the promoted tweet facility, it might not be the game changer the extensive media coverage it generated suggested.

In, perhaps, proof of the point, it has taken over a year for another promoted tweet against an airline to catch our attention.

This time it is Virgin Atlantic that is the target of a passenger’s ire.

Step forward Geoff Golberg:

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A cautionary lesson for BA and other airlines on responding to customers on social media

A few months I ago I posted about the disappointment experienced by many British Airways passengers when BaxterStorey took over the catering contract for the British Airways lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5.

The issue had largely died down. That was until last Saturday a poster on FlyerTalk had identified that, following an inspection of two of the six lounges at Terminal 5 (The Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room), Hillingdon Council had awarded these lounges a food safety score of 2 out of a possible 5. This means an improvement is required.

To put this into context, almost all of the outlets at Terminal 5 achieved either a score of 4 or 5 with only Gordon Ramsay’s “Plane Food” restaurant and a branch of Caffe Nero achieving a score of 2.

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Was Hasan Syed’s Twitter campaign against British Airways justified?

I’m sure by know you have read the story of how Hasan Syed used Twitter to protest his dissatisfaction at the way British Airways responded to the loss of his father’s luggage on a trip from Chicago to Paris last weekend.

In the interests of accuracy and completeness, the passenger did not transit via Heathrow. He flew from Chicago to Newark on American Airlines, and from Newark to Paris on BA’s subsidiary OpenSkies.

Hasan spent close to $1,000 to promote a series of Tweets to alert users to his views on BA’s customer service failings:

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