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US Airways says sorry after tweeting porn image to disgruntled flier

US Airways has, so to speak, got itself into a bit of a hole.

When replying to a complaining customer via Twitter Monday, the airline somehow tweeted a pornographic image of a model airplane in a rather unusual location (for a model airplane), a response that must have left the disgruntled passenger slightly more disgruntled than when she fired off her initial tweet.

The episode started when flier Elle Rafter posted a message directed at the airline on the microblogging site after her flight arrived late at Portland International Airport in Oregon after a delayed departure from Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.

“@US Airways Unhappy that 1787 sat for an hour on tarmac in CLT because overweight, resulting in over hour late arrival in PDX…”

US Airways’ PR team bounced into action, replying, “We truly dislike delays too and are very sorry your flight was affected.”

Evidently unhappy with the airline’s platitudes, Rafter fired off another tweet: “yeah, you seem so very sorry. So sorry, in fact, that you couldn’t be bothered to address my other tweets.”

Now, here’s where it gets interesting (as well as rather lewd), for with US Airways’ next tweet – “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up” – some bright spark in the office attached a graphic NSFW photo comprising a naked woman and a model airplane.

After removing the tweet and quite possibly firing someone in its social media team, US Airways apologized for the “inappropriate image”, adding that it was now investigating the incident.

 Following the incident, the airline said the image was originally sent to its own Twitter account, and somehow ended up in one of its own tweets.

“Unfortunately the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer,” the airline said in a statement issued Monday. “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.”

We’ve reached out to US Airways for an explanation as to how the image came to be posted, and we’ll update when we hear back.

As for Elle Rafter, presumably it’ll be a while before she flies with US Airways again.

[Image: Vacclav / Shutterstock]