Kid Successfully Trolled Southwest Airline’s Social Media Dep’t

by SharonKurheg

There are some social media accounts that are simply always awesomesauce. We posted some of our favorites a few years ago and although a few of them are more “here and now” than others, they’re still all really good reads.

Until recently, reading various Twitter accounts simply for their respective enjoyment factors was only one positive about the social media giant. It was no secret that if you had a complaint about a corporate entity, the #1 best place to go, a lot of the time, was Twitter. Putting your issue “out there,” for all the Twitterverse to see, was a powerful tool, even if you immediately go to Direct Messaging (DM) right after. That’s why, when Delta ended their Twitter DM and Facebook Messenger services in the early days of the COVID pandemic, it was so disappointing. (those services have since been reinstated. Other travel powerhouses are no longer using the service.)

Anyway, I recently discovered this exchange between what appears to be a passenger, and a Southwest representative. It looked as if it’s some sort of private message exchange, perhaps on Twitter. Although it’s hard to tell which one. It doesn’t really matter though. The point is that the SW rep, “Linnea,” handled this situation with grace, aplomb and a great sense of humor!

The exchange begins with the passenger who wanted to log a complaint about one of Southwest’s flight attendants after their recent flight.

“One of your flight attendants was being extremely rude and basically harassed me throughout my flight. I am disappointed because I love Southwest Airlines,” they wrote to Linnea.

Linnea asked for more information about the situation and the passenger replied, “Basically she only referred to me as ‘fattie’ and was being extremely rude. When I asked her for extra sugar for my coffee she hesitated, and when she gave me it she whispered in my ear ‘you’ll die soon enough fattie,'” the user continued. “It was really rude. I have a picture of her if you guys need it for investigation.”

It would be awful (and mean-spirited AND highly unprofessional) for a flight attendant to ever do something like that, so Linnea appeared very concerned, and appropriately so. She asked for the flight attendant’s name, etc.

The passenger then sent Linnea the image they mentioned. “Yes, her name is Britney. This is her,” they wrote, with a photo of the Britney Spears in her flight attendant costume, on the set of her 2004 video. But Lennea’s reply is what really makes the whole gag worthwhile.

“Oops, she did it again,” she wrote.

Here’s the exchange:

a screenshot of a chat

a screenshot of a chat

a woman in a blue dress


a screenshot of a woman wearing a blue dress

The whole exchange seemed too good to be true, so I started doing some research. Apparently, it WAS a real conversation. However, it happened because someone decided to troll the airline.

It turned out a college student named Juan (@xadoringpaige on Twitter) pulled the stunt as a prank. He did it right around the time that Dr. David Dao was dragged off United Airlines flight 3411 in Chicago.

Because of that incident, a lot of people were pretty uptight about flying. “What inspired me to make it is that there has been a lot of airline drama and I wanted to lighten up the mood,” Juan told HuffPost by email. “Of course, I wasn’t intending of shifting the focus away from what happened with United, but I wanted to make people smile and laugh. And I am happy I was able to do that.”

Linnea is also indeed a real person – at the time, she had been with Southwest over 7 years, in varying positions, all revolving around Customer Relations and Social Media.

Anyway, Southwest’s response to the incident was positive. As they told HuffPost:

We take every inquiry seriously, but try not to take ourselves too seriously. This was an excellent example of one of our Representatives taking great care to investigate a potential issue, and pivoting when the user revealed it was a joke.

The exchange was retweeted over 50,000 times in the first few days after it happened, and it still circulates today (which is how I found it).

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