British Airways Pits Tweet-Fueled Plane Against Its Own Aircraft

On the heels of a promoted tweet purchased to criticize British Airways' luggage handling processes, the airline rallies back with an unprecedented social media marketing initiative to mark the launch of two of its newest aircraft. By converting a hypothetical into an actionable challenge, BA begs the question: Who would win in a race between a Tweetliner and a Dreamliner?

Earlier this month, BA apologized to a man who went to the lengths of purchasing a promoted tweet (for approximately $1000 USD) on Twitter to complain about the airline losing his father’s luggage. Days later, British Airways revealed the latest iteration of its "To fly. To serve," campaign, championing its staff and the quality of the brand and showing the motto being stitched into the fabric of BA’s uniforms.

In this latest campaign, British Airways once again displays to the world it's not only a market-savvy airline, it's one that embraces social media and enthusiastically reaches out to the Twittersphere for feedback, both positive and negative.

BBH London is the agency behind the creation and execution of the live race between a real aircraft and a ‘Tweetliner.’ It's described by BA as pitting "the pinnacle of engineering against you, the nation’s tweeters".

The first-time-ever Digital Race invited Twitter users to add the hashtag #RaceThePlane to their tweets, in a digital competition that ran September 19 and will run again on September 24.The earlier flight pitted the virtual plane ("powered" by tweets) against a real 787 Dreamliner flight from London to Toronto, and will match up another Tweetliner with their new A380 from London to Los Angeles on the 24th. Those participants who either retweeted a message that includes #RaceThePlane or includes that hashtag in their own tweet between 12:15 and 19:55 BST (the actual flying time of the flight) -- will be eligible to win one of ten pairs of World Traveller flight tickets, chosen at random from all the qualified entries.

The winner of the first race was the Tweetliner as announced in this official tweet from British Airways' Twitter account.

So, Twitterati, if you did not board the Tweetliner on September 19th to vie for tickets to Toronto, or if you did and want to increase your odds by entering the second race to Los Angeles, join in by sending out as many hastagged tweets as your followers can bear to see in their Twitter stream.

Question remains however: Will the Tweetliner prove to be victorious once again on September 24? Chances are - most certainly! Why? Because, to date, there's been no formula made privy to the Twittersphere as to "how many tweets it actually takes to move one virtual mile" versus one actual air mile? So, if I was a betting man, I'd say the Tweetliner will WIN the next leg of the race -- hands down!