Delta Just Made a Mess of a Wonderful PR Opportunity With the Victorious U.S. Curling Team (Can United Take Advantage?)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

For most of their lives, Americans don’t care about curling.

On Friday night, however, many were riveted to heavy kettles sliding down the ice, as grown men manically swept away like cleaners on cocaine.

They were even shrieking in Hoboken when they should have been in bed. 

And then the U.S. Curling team won.

The same U.S. Curling team that, four years ago, had their captain John Shuster described by Deadspin as “the choking captain of our choking team of choking curlers.”

Some Americans just can’t bear losing.

You might imagine that the victorious U.S Curling Team is in a good mood.

So its governing body took to Twitter to make a small request of Delta Air Lines.

Perhaps they were joking. Perhaps they were hoping.

I’m a little of both when I occasionally try to incite the sympathy of an airline check-in agent.

Oh, but look how Delta replied.

Oh, no, no, no. 

Ten tons of no.

There aren’t enough no’s to sufficiently express quite what a no response this is.

Naturally, I can see that some might praise the airline for its deep-seated lurch toward equality. 

But the administrative neutrality of the tone was desperately inappropriate.

Delta surely had alternatives.

These men are folk heroes. At least for this weekend. 

Give them something and you’ll get lovely PR from it.

The airline could, for example, have teased U.S.A. Curling to switch to Direct Message and worked something out that would have delighted the team and made Delta look good.

That’s what often happens when a passenger has a complaint. The airline immediately asks them to switch to private communication.

Delta could have worked out a promotional deal. It could have agreed to ferry the team on some sort of goodwill tour around the chillier, snowier parts of America. 

It could have created a special celebration for the team when it got home.

Instead, oh, this. Ugh, this.

The tweet didn’t even say whether the flight was full and therefore its hands were tied.

I contacted the airline to ask if this was the case and will update, should I get wind.

So now United Airlines, it’s for you to knock that Delta kettle out of the airline PR circle thingy and score a fiver. (This is curling terminology, of course.)

United, you’re an Olympic sponsor, after all.

Lay on a special plane, one in which the team can actual curl down the aisle.

The PR would be worth millions.