5 airline brands to have been caught in social media crisis

Sarmistha Neogy
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IndiGo Airlines

In light of the IndiGo Airlines incident Social Samosa takes a look at 5 airlines who faced the wrath of a social media disaster in the wake of mishaps and bad services. 

IndiGo Airlines has been caught in eye of a social media storm as a video of their staff manhandling a customer vent viral.

Lately, there have been numerous incidents being reported of airlines being caught in some controversy on social media. Be it misbehaving with customers, acting rudely, serving dead lizards and cockroaches in food - in the age of social media, nothing can escape the public eye. It takes minutes to just click a picture, shoot a video or tweet about their bad experience and tag the airline.

These incidents do create a strong impact on the image of the brand and it stays longer in the minds of the customers, who would think twice before availing their service in future. If the brands are not quick to understand the gravity of the situation and give out standard replies to passengers, who have had a bad experience, the situation may just aggravate.

Social Samosa takes a look at 5 airlines who faced the wrath of a social media disaster in the wake of mishaps and bad services. 


In the last one day, the video of an IndiGo passenger being dragged on the tarmac and being manhandled by the airline staffs is all over the internet. It is being widely shared and circulated all over. Even though, the incident is a month old, the matter seems to be out in the front now, after the video has emerged on social media.

IndiGo also issued an apology on Twitter and it was also mentioned that stern action has been taken against the employee and he has been terminated. According to reports, the staff who shot the video was terminated immediately on the grounds of instigating and aggravating the situation.



The current sentiment is such that people are extremely agitated and they want to boycott the airline.





Looking at the social media outrage and an apology after 3 weeks, the matter has escalated and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has called the incident 'deplorable and unfortunate'.


On November 4, ace badminton player was also tweeted about her experience with IndiGo staff.


Air India

Last year, a passenger flying in an Air India flight to Chicago, found a cockroach in a meal served to him.


In 2015, the photo of a lizard peeping out under the burger which was served during the in-flight meal, went hugely viral. While, the airline denied the social media claims, but the damage was already done.


Jet Airways

Not everyone can forget and forgive so easily, when Jet Airways served a cooked cockroach to a business class passenger, they replaced the meal, instead of offering the passenger some medical aid, who complained of not feeling well.

Deeply offended by the 'callous handling' of the airline, the passenger Birju Salla took his revenge with the airline, by leaving a letter threatening that the plane has been hijacked in a Jet Airway's flight bathroom.publive-image

United Airlines

This video is of the United Airlines passenger who was violently dragged from the seat of an over-booked flight. The airline wanted to remove the passenger from the flight in order to make room for commuting crew members.

It received immense backlash on social media The company since promised it will no longer use officers to forcibly remove paying customers from its flights. According to reports, United Airlines has reached a settlement with the passenger who was forcefully disembarked from the aircraft early this year.

There was a lot of backlash in March, when United Airlines didn't allow girls to board the airlines because they wore leggings. It was widely critisized for their sexist attitude and for policing girls' attires. United even tried to justify their action by explaining that the girls were on buddy passes - discounted travel for friends and family of employees. #Leggingsgate trended on Twitter, which customers used to lambast the brand.

According to a study done by Brandwatch React, the hashtag #LeggingsGate caused a 6000 percent increase in social media mentions for the brand.




There was also a huge spike in mentions for the incident, when the passenger was forced off the plane. The statistics surely show that the effect of a negative news for any airline can't be overcome so easily. 


Delta Airlines

In 2016, Delta Airlines experienced a system outage. It resulted in around 4,000 flights being delayed and some being cancelled. The impact was bad because passengers from all over the world were left stranded, fuming and dejected. Proper informations were not updated and there was a huge outburst on social media.

It is very important to communicate correct information with the passengers and be transparent with them. Crisis can arise anytime, but it is very important to be well prepared to handle one. In the age of social media, there is no time to think and act, so a back up plan should always be in hand. Finally, we know disasters can't always be averted, but at least be prepared to douse the immediate fire.

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