Well, that was awkward.
The company swiftly apologized and removed the tweet.
The image was posted along with an innocuous and fairly reasonable message directing the customer, Elle, to review her travel experience and follow up. The attached photo, however, was pornographic.
A spokesman for the company said in a statement that the tweet was a result of an honest error:
We apologize for the inappropriate image we recently shared in a Twitter response. Our investigation has determined that the image was initially posted to our Twitter feed by another user. We captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate. Unfortunately the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer. We immediately realized the error and removed our tweet. We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future.
In the ongoing struggle of companies to deal with social media, this is certainly a black eye.
Airliners like US Airways also routinely attempt to respond in real time to customer concerns and feedback through their official Twitter accounts. No doubt, the people tasked with that job today will be treading extra carefully.