Air France hate mail: Why crisis comms should be top priority

A frustrated customer connected on social media is really all you need for a crisis and the recent Air France incident highlights just that.

Circulating on social media is a letter posted by unhappy customer Shah Jay who wrote a long letter to Alexandre De Juniac, chairman & chief executive officer of Air France-KLM, after his flight got cancelled mid-way with little or no customer support for passengers.

The 3000-word long letter details, chronologically, the entire experience he had on board the flight and transit from US to Bombay earlier in October.

Shah who took the flight from John F. Kennedy Airport, USA was heading towards Bombay. However the flight was cancelled mid way in Paris, the hub of the airline indefinitely without any proper explanation.

Meanwhile, the airline was only able to secure transit visas for some senior citizens or mother’s with children while the rest of the passengers were left stranded at the airport. These passengers were then denied access to the airline’s lounge as it was only for the "Business Class" and the passengers were told to find a resting area in another terminal of the airport.

The elderly were also denied wheel-chair access.

Shah says in his letter: “Everyday I wake up and I check my inbox to see if I’ve received an e-mail from one of your Customer Relations Executive, I frantically search my mailbox to see if there’s any post from Air France regarding the incident that’s probably going to have lifelong implications on the goodwill of your company.”

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The letter has enraged netizens globally, with many posting on airlines' Facebook page asking for an explanation and some even calling for a boycott.

Together with social media, crisis communication strategies must evolve too and here's why: Think you’re managing the crisis? Maybe not

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