Poor Timing for Qantas Twitter Contest

Qantas Luxury 1Australian airline Qantas had good intentions when it promoted a "Qantas Luxury" competition, but the contest was a big failure. Qantas encouraged tweeters to submit creative answers:

Ever wanted to experience Qantas First Class luxury? You could win a First Class gift pack feat, a luxury amenity kit and our famous QF PJs. To enter tell us What is your dream luxury inflight experience? (Be creative!) Answer must include #QantasLuxury.

Qantas Luxury 3The request came in the midst of trouble between the company and the Transport Workers Union. Just hours after the company announced a negotiation break-down, @QantasAirways announced the contest. Also, travelers were still angry over a flight that was grounded last month over labor issues. There was no shortage of sarcastic tweets, many angry about being stranded less than a month ago. Attempting humor, @QantasAirways acknowledged the failed contest:
Qantas contestDiscussion Starters:
  • This isn't the first time that Qantas was criticized for its Twittering. Do you connect these stories in some way?
  • How could Qantas have avoided this situation?
  • How can Qantas now use Twitter or other social networking sites to rebuild its image?