Responding to Negative News Via Your Blog

…Southwest Airlines discovered that this month when its 2-year-old Nuts About Southwest blog fielded some 300 public comments about a proposed $10.2 million fine by the Federal Aviation Administration and accusations that the airline flew at least 46 planes without required fuselage inspections. >>Full Story

Thoughts// As many of you know, Southwest Airlines has been facing some tough scrutiny over the past several weeks due to reports of fines and missed inspections. These are very serious allegations that pose a huge challenge for any corporation and it’s public relations staff. On top of that, the airline, in it’s fun loving way, also promotes a popular blog about all things Southwest.

What has been extremely interesting over the past few weeks is to observe how Southwest has used the blog during this story and what the user / reader reaction been.

For example, take a look at the post titled ‘Southwest Airlines Continues Internal Audit‘ and the 88 comments that follow.

I would expect Southwest to respond with the tone (via posts) that they have used so far. This is a serious issue and for numerous reasons (let alone legal ones) you cannot have just anyone writing about the incidents on the blog. However, that ‘corporate’ tone just does not fit on a blog, so the posts do stand out a bit…and to some readers seem like ‘spin’ or a ‘cover-up.’

As far as the comments, about what you would expect…half of the readers are irate, half would still rather fly Southwest than any other airline (count me in the latter half, seriously $25 for a second bag?).

Fortunately for Southwest, they have built up a sizable amount of consumer trust and goodwill which should see them through this negative news cycle.

And keep posting away to start rebuilding that lost consumer confidence.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.