Some European airlines are shifting their customer service support away from Twitter, telling passengers they will no longer be able to contact the support team through the app. Customers could previously contact the airline directly in the case of a problem or question related to their upcoming or canceled flight, but Twitter’s new conditions have pushed the airlines away from the platform.
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“Since Twitter has changed their conditions, our customer service by direct message on this network is unavailable,” Air France announced in a tweet last month. The airline instead directed customers to its customer support page on its website.
Airlines have used Twitter as a way to directly connect customers to customer service desks as an alternative to the extensive phone wait times that could keep them on hold for hours. Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s decision to remove verified checkmarks from accounts raised concern amongst some airlines about how businesses are verified on the app.
Air France will continue to maintain and post updates on its Twitter profile, but an Air France spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal the only caveat is “We no longer offer customer service by private message on this platform at the moment, but our commercial teams are still available via the usual channels, including other social networks.”
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KLM, Air France’s sister airline, has also announced customers will not be able to directly reach out via its Twitter profile.
The change comes after Musk removed blue checkmarks from all verified profiles that did not sign up to pay the required $8 per month for individual users, but for large businesses and companies, the price tag was much more. Twitter announced it would charge a minimum of roughly $1,000 per month to verify large organizations, and an additional $50 per month for each employee or affiliate account.
Air France cited a concern that since anyone can pay for a blue checkmark without verifying their account, the risk of imposters duplicating the companies’ Twitter accounts has increased and could defraud customers. “A lot of brands have been hijacked,” Ari Lightman, a digital media and marketing professor at Carnegie Mellon University, told The Wall Street Journal. “The verification mechanism is a mechanism of trust within the community that the actual brand is associated with.”
Shashank Nigam, founder and CEO of airline marketing-strategy company SimpliFlying, told the outlet that by charging companies to verify their account, passengers no longer have much-needed quick access to the airline’s support team and compared it to charging fliers to use the bathroom on the plane. “That just doesn’t work from a business perspective,” he said.