Delta Air Lines replied to Republican political commentator Ann Coulter’s social media barrage with a terse apology and a brief lecture about manners and respect for one’s fellow flyers.
In the age of social media, a celebrity with more than a million Twitter followers is likely to get quick customer service attention after airing a complaint online. Controversial political pundit and famous provocateur Ann Coulter, however, may have overplayed her hand when she took Delta Air Lines to task for failing to make her preferred seat assignment available on a recent flight.
In her defense, it seems that the Fox News regular and best-selling author initially had a legitimate complaint with the airline. Coulter was apparently frustrated that she was told to move from a seat that she paid a hefty fee to select and offered no explanation as to why she was being relocated. The conservative political writer and television personality was also reportedly upset that wi-fi was not working on her flight.
Had Coulter simply laid out her rather reasonable concerns about her in-flight experience, this might be a very different story. Unfortunately, over the next 48 hours, she almost ceaselessly posted derogatory and sometimes inflammatory comments on Twitter about the airline, its staff and her fellow passengers.
Coulter quickly resorted to name-calling, dubbing Delta flight attendants “Nurse Ratchets” and referring to the flyer who was assigned to sit in the now-infamous seat as a “dachshund-legged woman.” The news talkshow panelist even snapped a paparazzi-style photograph of the woman who had the misfortune of sitting in the seat that Coulter herself coveted.
The commentator continued her Twitter tantrum nearly ceaselessly throughout the weekend. At one point, she even took time to slam the airline in a very much unrelated post about the US military presence in South Korea.
On Sunday, the airline fired back at its cyber-bully. Company officials started the post by apologizing that Coulter did not get the seat of her choosing and offering to refund the $30 that she had paid for the privilege of choosing her own seat. The airline then added a short message letting the dissatisfied passenger know that “your insults about our customers and employees are unacceptable and unnecessary.”
It seems likely that Delta officials took a calculated risk that the tide of public sentiment was turning away from the well-known personality, before issuing the less-than-sincere-sounding apology. Coulter appears to have lost the sympathy of her audience early on. Among the first replies to the very first post this weekend that derided the airlines gave a big hint that the television talking head was on the wrong side of this particular issue. Dane “The Marathon Man” Rauschenberg, a minor celebrity in his own right, responded with a simple inquiry about Coulter’s recent air travel woes: “Broom in the shop?”