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Airlines

Not a Great Look for Southwest Airlines

Not a Great Look for Southwest Airlines
Jackie Reddy

A Southwest Airlines passenger tweeted the airline to report inappropriate comments made by a member of its cabin crew. While attempting to resolve the issue, the airline then created a bigger problem by sharing her personal information. The tweets have been deleted and the airline has apologized.

Southwest Airlines has issued an apology to a passenger for sharing her personal information via Twitter, Ars Technica reports. The incident, which occurred on August 8th, involved passenger Jackie Singh, who had tweeted the carrier to express her concern over inappropriate comments allegedly made by a crew member.

In her tweet, an excerpt of which was quoted by Gizmodo, Singh said that the staff member began, “jokingly enticing passengers to select seats in the rear [plane emoji] with offers of free beer, free liquor, ‘younger women,’ and random negative commentary about his ex-wife.

However, her interaction with the airline via the platform soon gave way to a bigger problem. Singh’s tweets were responded to by a Southwest employee identified only as Emilia.

In Emilia’s onward replies to Singh, Singh’s flight number was publicly revealed via the platform. Singh expressed her surprise at the airline’s action by tweeting, “We haven’t even taken off, why would you do this?” She was then informed that flight numbers were not considered personally identifiable information or PII.

Emilia then told Singh, a security consultant, that she was, “welcome to reach out to us privately in the future if you do not wish to discuss your travel publicly.”

But as Gizmodo reports, it’s not quite clear how Southwest managed to glean her flight details through limited exchanges on Twitter. Speaking to the outlet, Singh believes that it’s possible that her Twitter details comprise part of her passenger profile details with the airline or that this information was gleaned from another set of tweets that had taken place between herself and the carrier a few days earlier.

In a statement to Ars, Southwest said, “Our team is equipped to respond to customer inquiries on social media and is trained on handling sensitive customer data, and they are coached to proactively gather relevant information to understand our customers’ need and quickly resolve their issue and provide an individualized and personal response. It is not our policy to publicly share personally identifiable information about our employees or our customers.

We have reached out to the customer to express our apologies and regret over their disappointment, and we look forward to the opportunity to resolve this issue,” it added.

Singh also later received a personal apology from a member of Southwest’s customer service team.

While the tweets between Singh and Emilia have since been deleted, speaking to Gizmodo about this experience, Singh said, “It was very upsetting—but couldn’t have happened to a better person to help bring light to it. I’m lucky to have an audience that cares. Most people won’t have any recourse for this type of casual data abuse.

[Featured Image: Southwest Airlines]

View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. OZFLYER86

    August 14, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    yet another storm in a teacup. No one cares. If you’ve got nothing interesting to report, don’t write about trivia

  2. PurdueFlyer

    August 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    “I’m lucky to have an audience that cares.” No, sorry. No one cares.

    Twitter- destroying human communication in 280 characters or less.

  3. jamar

    August 14, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Nah, if no one truly cared then this article and your comments wouldn’t have been written.

  4. LukeO9

    August 15, 2019 at 3:02 am

    I would hate to have anyone know I was on flight ***, not.

  5. dddc

    August 15, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I think this lets slip that companies are building profiles on consumers, more than they realise. I went to a Salesforce conference a while back and was really shocked at how much information can get shared behind the scenes under the guise of publicly available information on a person. This builds up a profile of a person, with correct or incorrect data, and can affect offers you recieve and how you are treated because of your perceived spend. I called out one company on how they got data on me and asked them to forward what they had under the EU’s GDPR regulation. They had a salary level recorded from when I started working and had financially linked me to a friend I lived in a houseshare with (with 10 other people might I add) nearly 3 decades ago – this is despite the fact I had married in the mean time.

    I do my best to reduce my net footprint (VPN, ad blockers, rejecting all cookies, resetting my Google Ad ID daily etc) but they always find a way around it.

  6. polinka

    August 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    dddc – that is shocking to me. Yes, I knew that companies were tracking their customers, etc. but when I read your post, it truly shocked me. I guess I’m very naive.

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