US Airways issued an apology on Monday immediately after deleting the tweeted photograph of a naked woman lying on a bed with a toy airplane between her legs, said Davien Anderson, spokesman for US Airways.
By Tuesday morning, the apology had been retweeted nearly 13,000 times and social media was flooded with jokes and gripes about the image.
Anderson said US Airways, part of American Airlines Group Inc, was investigating the mishap. So far it has determined that the photo was originally posted to its Twitter feed by another user, but was inadvertently included in its response to the customer.
“We apologize for the inappropriate image we recently shared in a Twitter response,” Anderson said in an emailed statement.
“We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future,” he said.
US Airways tweeted the photo to the Twitter alias @ElleRafter, according to an archived image of the tweet, which has since been deleted.
The customer, whose @ElleRafter Twitter page includes the tag line “(Complaining) several times a year since 2009,” did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The @ElleRafter Twitter page’s timeline includes a raft of consumer criticisms, ranging from UPS drivers who failed to knock on the door when dropping off packages, to the restaurant chain Red Robin failing to offer honey mustard, to the Portland Police Department’s lax enforcement of crosswalk safety.
The most recent grievance appeared to be about Sunday evening’s US Airways flight 1787 from Charlotte, North Carolina to Portland, Oregon. According to FlightAware.com, which tracks air traffic, the plane departed about an hour late.