A hijacked hashtag is the latest PR disaster to hit Qantas.
At midday, the Qantas PR team operating the @QantasAirways twitter account sent out a call for luxury flying experiences.
This came after months of negative publicity stemming from industrial disputes with three unions, that resulted in the grounding of the entire Qantas fleet on October 29.
The idea, it seems, was to reward a winning tweet with a Qantas first-class gift pack.
The prize for tweeting good things about the embattled airline was a pair of Qantas pyjamas, and a "luxury amenity kit".
"To enter tell us 'What is your dream luxury inflight experience? (Be creative!) Answer must include #QantasLuxury."
Within an hour, the hashtag was trending across the country, but the tweets were not quite what management expected.
@GrogsGamut tweeted: "#QantasLuxury- when the passengers arrive before the couriers delivering the lockout notices do".
ABC radio's PM presenter Mark Colvin, @Colvinius said: "Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire. #qantasluxury".
And @the-aaron-smith said: "#qantasluxury is chartering a Greyhound bus and arriving at your destination days before your grounded Qantas flight".
Social media expert James Griffin from SR7 said that, by about 1pm, Australians were sending out 51 tweets a minute on the hashtag. Most of these were tweets making fun of the idea of #qantasluxury.
"Firstly, timing went completely out the window with this campaign," Mr Griffin said, referring to Qantas management walking away from negotiations with the Transport Workers Union and Australian, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers' Association and the International Pilots Association yesterday.
"First and foremost, there should have been further consideration by the social media team about the sensitivities of the day," he said.
"This is a prime example of how consumers and the community can take control of a campaign or a brand through social media - evidenced by the speed and ferocity of tweets.
"Consideration should have been given to what Qantas and consumers have been through in the past couple of months."
The airline's Twitter feed was updated at 2.24pm with this: "Wow! Some very creative tweeps out there. Keep the entries coming #QantasWeHearYou".
A Qantas spokeswoman said the #qantasluxury competition was launched as part of their "ongoing social media strategy".
"We receive positive feedback from customers via social media about the Qantas premium inflight products. Over the past 12 months we have conducted a number of competitions for customers, fans and followers on our Twitter feed (@qantasairways), giving away these products," the spokeswoman said.
"We launched the #qantasluxury competition as part of our ongoing social media strategy. The competition is giving away Qantas First Class pyjamas and amenity kits and a number of people have legitimately entered the competition.
"A large number of our customers were disrupted and inconvenienced by the recent industrial action and fleet grounding. However, services have returned to normal and our customers can book flights with absolute confidence that they will not be disrupted by industrial action."
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