Qantas is the subject of yet another less than flattering international news story after a Twitter competition to win a pair of luxury pyjamas became a contest to come up with the best line bashing the beleaguered airline.
Qantas invited its Twitter followers to use the ‘#QantasLuxury’ ‘hashtag’ to Tweet their “dream luxury in-flight experience” and get a chance to win the pajamas and a toiletries kit. But the timing was questionable at best — coming a day after the airline broke off talks with key unions and less than a month after it stranded tens of thousands of passengers by briefly grounding its entire fleet — and the competition quickly drew a torrent of sarcasm and abuse.
Users mockingly described ‘#QantasLuxury’ as “more than 3mins notice that the whole airline is on strike” and “being stranded on the other side of the world without warning.” By Wednesday afternoon, the contest had drawn more than 10,000 responses – very few of them offering serious suggestions for the airline’s high end offerings.
“Somewhere in Qantas HQ a middle aged manager is yelling at a Gen Y social media ‘expert’ to make it stop,” Twitter user Andrew Tan wrote under the name ndrew10, adding, “LOL.”
User Greg Jericho, writing as GrogsGamut, opined that “#QantasLuxury is that safe feeling that comes from knowing your pilots are wearing the correct coloured ties,” while Richard Cooke wrote that he “Can’t wait to see the Air Crash Investigation episode on the #QantasLuxury hashtag disaster.”
Even Virgin Australia got in a dig, tweeting that “We think great service is the cats pyjama’s.”
Commentators widely panned the competition as an ill-timed, tone deaf “epic fail” for Qantas, which last week hired four social media monitors to keep tabs on the company’s image on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
But Qantas’s Twitter brigade sought to keep a good humoured face as the tweets kept rolling in Wednesday, noting that the pyjama contest was “going to take months to judge” and later posting a picture of “the most famous pyjamas in Australia.”