If pushing out fast facts about aircraft is your airline’s best play at engagement on Twitter, including crash data is probably not the best approach, as Dutch airline KLM has evidently just realised.
In a since-deleted tweet earlier this week, the KLM India Twitter account cited a 2015 analysis by TIME magazine of seating chart and fatalities data from the Federal Aviation Administration’s CSRTG Aircraft Accident Database as a kind of fun fact for its 3300 followers.
The tweet stated that “the fatality rate for the seats in the middle of the plane is the highest”, and that “the fatality rate for the seats in the front is marginally lesser and is least for seats at the rear third of a plane”. The tweet included a graphic that read, per The Washington Post: “Seats at the back of a plane are the safest!”
This was not — as you might imagine — especially well received, and it appears the tweet was removed the same day it was posted. The KLM India account promptly tweeted an apology on Thursday that stated the initial tweet “was based on a publically available aviation fact” and that it was not intended “to hurt anyone’s sentiments”.
We would like to sincerely apologise for a recent update. The post was based on a publically available aviation fact, and isn't a @KLM opinion. It was never our intention to hurt anyone's sentiments. The post has since been deleted.
— KLM India (@KLMIndia) July 17, 2019
KLM did not immediately return a request for further comment about the incident, but the airline’s primary account tweeted on Friday that it “will be reviewing our Twitter protocol to better ensure appropriate content”.
Remarkably, this does not appear to be the only social media faux pas KLM has faced this week. Just days earlier, the company was faced with backlash over an incident involving a passenger who claimed in a recent Facebook post she was asked to cover up while breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter on a KLM flight.
The company responded to criticism on Twitter by remarking: “To keep the peace on board, in such cases we will try to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone and that shows respect for everyone’s comfort and personal space. This may involve a request to a mother to cover her breast.”
More evidence that absolutely any time is a good time to log off.