Did I need to see the picture in question? No. Did the customer that was complaining and already dealing with the headache of a delayed flight? Certainly not. But we all need to grow up and move on. Because you know why and how that photo got tweeted? There is a real, live human being replying to people and humans make mistakes.
That mistake could have been a copy and paste error (totally possible, I’ve done it…just not with quite such disastrous results) or a technical glitch (less probable that their Twitter management system mistakenly grabbed it, but still possible) or just somebody having a bad day (we’ve all been there). The point is, they are all mistakes. Accidents. Unintended actions, or possibly a lapse of judgement. Which is going to happen when you have real people doing their jobs.
Think about it: would you rather receive an automated response that tells you nothing, or a human who replies and has a typo? If this was simply someone pasting the wrong URL, it’s not much more than a typo. It’s the media in question, the subject matter of the photo, that makes it a big deal. If the wrong URL led to the US Airways homepage instead of the complaint form, no one would be making a big deal.
Machines can’t do everything, and the price we pay for real-time, live customer service is the occasional human error.