Kevin Smith vs Southwest Airlines – Fact or Fiction?


This week the Inbox Insiders, an email marketing discussion group, had a lot to say about the Kevin Smith vs Southwest Airlines debacle. 

Here’s what DJ Waldow of Blue Sky Factory, an eec Silver Sponsor, shared with us: 

I’m more interested in how Southwest handled the situation from a social media perspective. I can’t speak to all channels, but I’ll start with one of the most visible – Twitter. It started with a tweet from Kevin on Feb 13th at 6:52PM:

Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?

@SouthwestAir replied 16 minutes later with this: @ThatKevinSmith hey Kevin! I’m so sorry for your experience tonight! Hopefully we can make things right, please follow so we may DM!

I personally think SWA’s reply on Twitter was really good. Without knowing the full situation, they did a nice job in replying by acknowledging the issue, apologizing and offering to carry on the conversation privately (via DM).  From there it started to get ugly as Kevin Smith began to tweet like a madman using a ton of profanities.

The one issue I do have with how SWA handled this situation is that they may have jumped the gun a bit with their initial blog post.  It seems as though they might not have gotten all of their facts straight.

Takeaways, Lessons Learned, etc. (just my opinion here):

  • Social Media is alive and well.
  • People tend to use social media to either sing praises (We love you!) or complain (I was wronged. I hate you!).
  • While it is important to reply promptly, be sure to have all of your facts straight.
  • Remember that people will be quick to form their own opinions, take sides, and are not afraid to voice their thoughts publicly.
  • Twitter is not always the answer; it often takes real humans.
  • Sometimes it makes sense to “take it private” (as outlined by Amber Naslund).
  • Responding to customer service via social media channels is not really that different than how it “used to be done.”

A few resources:

For more details, check out DJ’s blog post.

eec’ers – What do you think?

Did Southwest handle the situation properly? 
Is this all a publicity stunt for Smith’s new movie?
Do you think companies should publically respond to customer service issues?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts.