Curling team accidentally gives Delta a PR headache

[This post has been updated]

The gold-medal-winning U.S. curling team got a little lesson in the dangers of Twitter before heading back to Minnesota and a heroes’ welcome in Duluth.

It was all good for the fellas, tweeting to Delta to see if a gold medal could get a guy an upgrade.

No luck. The planes out of South Korea are full, Delta replied.

That set off the outrage machine as people took aim at Delta.

News sites picked up on the exchanges, which only made things worse.

So, the team stepped in to try to take things back to DEFCON 5.

When they got to the airport, they got some special treatment.

As they made their way back to the Northland this morning, they got a reminder about that whole “flyover country” thing.

[Update 10:10 a.m.] John Shuster, of Chisholm, says a person in first class gave up a seat for him.

  • jon

    Someone switched the outrage machine to turbo…
    If we just roll it back down to normal, or even “high” we should do better.

  • Jeff

    Seems like they could have dragged some of those one percenters out of first class to make room.

  • Rob

    I’m one of those Old School people who would have gone into my personal Delta account to make an email request for an upgrade. (If my comment qualifies as outrage, so be it.) : )

    • flyha


  • Mike Worcester

    I took the team’s request for what it was, a light-hearted attempt to ply their new found fame (in a sport that a whole lotta folks probably knew nothing about) into a better seat, likely knowing what the answer would be. I also took Delta’s answer for what it was, a polite, honest answer about how full their flight was, which is pretty typical. And the outrage here is based upon?

    • QuietBlue

      It’s not based upon anything. It’s jerks looking for an excuse to be jerks.

    • Joseph

      It appears from the initial response tweet that Delta is saying no, just because you got a Gold Medal doesn’t mean we will upgrade you. If they had said something like, “We would love to help but all our flights are already full out of South Korea” it would look a lot less like Delta is just being a jerk.

      • flyha

        Disagree… I feel they replied appropriately.

  • >>As they made their way back to the Northland this morning, they got a reminder about that whole “flyover country” thing.<<

    I have to admit I was mildly amused at this.

    And don't even get me started on how they price certain flights…

  • Jim in RF

    If it’s anything, and it’s not, it’s mild extortion.

  • Veronica

    I’ve had really good luck with Delta’s Twitter account– they fixed a bad ticket issue when they had me sitting in a different row than my kids, who were 2 and 5 at the time. I was really impressed.

    Now, the United account was NOT helpful a few years ago when my mom’s plane got diverted from MSP during landing due to high winds. The flight status showed her as landed, but she was actually on her way to Chicago. It made for a few tense hours until I found my mom.

  • crystals

    Gary from Florida is a seriously generous human being. I’d like to think I’d give up a first class seat from South Korea to Michigan for an Olympic athlete…but I honestly don’t know. That’s a looooong flight. (So, I might be a bad person? I feel like this question is giving me an existential crisis even though I will almost certainly never be in a position to even have to consider this decision. #realtalk)

    • Barton

      I assumed it was only one leg of the flight – and not the overseas portion. B/c I know how much those seats cost (miles and dollars) and the absolute hell of being in coach for a long flight…. I would not even consider giving up my seat. Except for a person in need (broken leg/wheelchair user/such – and with a guaranteed refund from the airline.

      • crystals

        From the tweets it sounds like it really was the Incheon (S. Korea) to Detroit flight. And thank you for making me feel a little less bad about myself!

  • Postal Customer

    I want to know the average age of the tweeters in that screenshot. Not that I would defend an airline, but the entitlement mentality is strong in those tweets.

    • flyha

      I agree! Kind of feel like they’re using social media to bully Delta

  • L. Foonimin

    One of the best, succinct views of Social Media comes from one of my favorite journalists who is an actual Ink Stained Wretch:

    “Blogs and tweets have their place, I think they’re like snack foods. They’re addictive but not necessarily nourishing.”
    — Bettina Boxall, Pulitzer Prize winner Los Angeles Times

  • Barton

    I hope that the Delta flight attendants at least brought them back the “good stuff” from Delta One (aka, the good liquor and snacks).

  • flyha

    This was not the proper way to handle the request and the team should have known better before putting Delta in this position… all for hometown heroes but WRONG!