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Airlines abandon Twitter customer service amid high API fees

Airlines, Air France, KLM, and Ryanair no longer offer customer service support using Twitter’s direct message functionality.

The large airplane flies in the sky. Airfrance
Image: stevenhe1997

Airlines, Air France, KLM, and Ryanair no longer offer customer service support using Twitter’s direct message functionality.

Twitter was an online customer support hub for many years. The social network offered low-friction access to a large user base and inbuilt brand identity confirmation.

When Twitter changed the blue checks from identity verification into a paid product, one of those factors was lost. We’ve seen real problems from Twitter brand impersonation already.

In November 2022, a blue check-clad account impersonating insulin maker Eli Lilly, Tweeted, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” That was a joke, not someone trying to defraud customers.

Risk to customers and reputation is not the only reason airlines are shying away from answering support requests on Twitter.

At the direction of Elon Musk, Twitter now charges incredibly high fees for access to its API (application programming interface), allowing third-party developers to build tools to interact with Twitter. 

Twitter’s API is necessary for customer support tools with industry-standard tracking to interface with the social network.

The airplane wing soars through the sky.
Image: Pexels

Twitter’s new enterprise API access now starts at $42,000 a month. The cost climbed so high that Microsoft dropped Twitter from its advertising platform due to the API rate hike.

Customers can obviously still contact customer service for each of these airlines. Twitter is a publishing ecosystem with creators, advertisers, and consumers.

Brands were no one’s favorite part of Twitter, but the ability to access customer support was a value add for users. 

The party most hurt by Twitter’s decisions is Twitter. I’ve never seen a business strategy more accurately embody “tripping over hundred dollar bills to pick up pennies.”

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Mason Pelt is a writer, primarily focused on the impact of marketing on culture. He's also the managing director of Push ROI Inc. and a board member for the non-profit Project HandUP.

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