What were they thinking?

First, early this week, Qantas and its unions break off contract negotiations. This comes after the airline grounded its fleet in late October, a drastic move that stranded thousands of angry customers.

Then, yesterday, the airline launches a public relations Twitter campaign that asks people to enter a competition describing their “dream luxury in-flight experience” and possibly win a pair of Qantas first-class pyjamas and a toiletries kit.

PR experts said the campaign was perhaps Australia’s greatest public relations failure and a classic example of the dangers of unpredictable social media, reports Reuters.

“Epic PR fail, excellent case study in corporate cultural tone deafness. Simply don’t get it,” said social media commentator Peter Clarke.

Certainly, the campaign has left the airline red-faced, drawing thousands of angry responses from Twitter users. And this hilarious You Tube video:

YouTube Preview Image

And here’s something we ran earlier:

Dear Qantas,

Things have not been good for some time. I’m sorry to do this in a letter but I don’t have 16 hours to sit on hold, waiting for one of your over-worked staff to answer my call.

I’m breaking up with you.

I’ve had it with you being rude to me, turning up late with no excuse, cancelling on me and losing my stuff. You don’t respect me any more. And your coffee is terrible.

You have used me, Qantas, and I can never forgive you for that.

I saved all my Frequent Flyer points for you, I hired cars and got out credit cards with your name on them, I chose the hotels and restaurants you wanted me to choose, all because you promised me a flight at the end of it.

And what did I get for that loyalty?

All of a sudden when I wanted to book that free overseas flight, you were too busy, or you didn’t have any room in your plane, or I had to give you a year’s notice or I had to fly via Uzbekistan and I wasn’t allowed to use the toilet and I had to sit on somebody else’s lap.

I’m sick of crying myself to sleep because my loyalty was never enough. I’m tired of trying to get Platinum membership, just so you’ll notice me.

You should have loved me just the way I was.

Please, don’t try to emotionally blackmail me with that crap about “You have to love me. I’m Australian.” I’ve fallen for that too many times and now, I read that you want to ditch Australian pilots because you can hire people cheaper overseas. Where’s your loyalty?

Why do I have to support you because you’re Australian but you can ditch us because you think we’re too expensive?  You’re so selfish, Qantas. You never think of anyone but yourself.

You’re always making promises you never keep: ‘Of course your luggage will turn up, of course Q tags work fine, of course the plane will take off on time and all the wings and engines will work.”  What you actually mean when you say ‘I’m improving’ is “I’m improving things for myself and tricking you into thinking it’s for your benefit.”

You’re a bad boyfriend, Qantas. And you’re a bad cook.

Don’t get me wrong, the grated carrot between two slices of still-frozen bread I was once served as a vegetarian lunch was memorable, but it was like you  were saying “F%^* you, I’ve already got your money,” on a plate. (Not that you gave me a plate.)

More to the point, you’ve lost my respect. I was so embarrassed over the weekend when you threw a tantrum and shut down. All the other airlines were laughing at you. It was a total turn-off. It was like you were crying into your mummy’s skirt because someone nicked one of your lollies when you had a whole bag of them stuffed down your pants.

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