“I got the idea because of all the airline drama that has been going on and I thought it would be nice to lighten up the mood.”
Customer service doesn’t have to be a thankless job.
On Tuesday afternoon, a college student named Juan messaged Southwest Airlines with a complaint about his flight: “One of your flight attendants was being extremely rude and basically harassed me throughout my flight,” he wrote.
Naturally, customer service responded, asking for more information about the incident. Juan relayed a story about a flight attendant who referred to him as “fattie” and hesitated on giving him more sugar for his coffee because, according to her, he would “die soon enough.”
The customer service agent dealing with Juan’s case, named Linnea, was very sorry to hear this story and promised Juan that his complaint would be noted. She then asked if he could remember the name of the flight attendant who insulted him.
Juan not only remembered — he had a picture.
That’s when an image of Britney Spears in her iconic cerulean blue flight attendant outfit from the “Toxic” video appeared in Linnea’s inbox. Just a few minutes later, she sent one of the best customer service responses of all time: “Oops, she did it again.”
Juan tweeted about his exchange with Southwest, saying “I trolled Southwest Airlines.” The tweet quickly went viral and was retweeted over 62,000 times in one day.
“I got the idea because of all the airline drama that has been going on and I thought it would be nice to lighten up the mood,” he told Travel + Leisure. “My intention was not to shift the focus away from what happened with United, but make people laugh.”
“We take every inquiry seriously, but try not to take ourselves too seriously,” Southwest said in a statement about the exchange. “This was an excellent example of one of our Representatives taking great care to investigate a potential issue, and pivoting when the user revealed it was a joke.”
Juan said that he has not exchanged any further correspondence with Southwest since.
Britney Spears has seen a resurgence in the airline industry over the past few weeks. Last month a flight attendant in Malaysia recreated the “Toxic” video on an empty Airbus A330 — complete with the iconic food trolley shuffle down the aisle and a booty pop against the bathroom door.