British Airways has deleted a tweet where it wished the England rugby team “good luck” in the clash against Wales today.
The tweet by the flag carrier airline for the UK, of which Wales is currently a part, received a ferocious backlash from rugby fans on social media who felt it was inappropriate.
It was criticised by Welsh Government minister Jeremy Miles who called it “totally inept”.
“Just as well running an airline doesn’t require good judgment, common sense and an awareness of public sentiment,” he said.
The message was sent ahead of the Autumn Nations Cup clash that is to be played behind closed doors at Parc y Scarlets.
British Airways is a sponsor of the England rugby team, and says it is the “first ever principal partner” of what it calls the “home of rugby, Twickenham Stadium.”
In its tweet ahead of the clash, it said: “Good Luck to the England Rugby team against Wales today.”
But it didn’t stay up for long after it received a torrent of criticism from people who felt that Wales had been disrespected.
Rugby World Magazine columnist Paul Williams said: “When brands get things spectacularly wrong.”
Chris Trueman said “Should be called English Airways” while Chris Thomas said: “This tweet is absolutely shameful, I appreciate you sponsor England but your brand makes you representative of all of the British Isles.”
Andy Gibb said: “Sponsor or not, can you believe that British Airways would tweet this?”
Clay Harris said: “A very odd and ill-considered tweet.”
Gary Paterson said: “I wonder, does the ‘Union Unit’ work on Saturdays?”
Sunday National columnist John Drummond said: “Marketing mistake 101 – how to upset your customers in Wales.”
Amy Mackintosh said: “Wow – I think someone needs a geography lesson.”
YesCymru said: “To be clear, even when Wales becomes independent, it will still be a constituent part of the island of Britain.
“Your brand isn’t UK Airways, it’s British Airways. Regardless, we’ve had enough of this unequal, broken union. It’s time for change.”
Some people thought the criticism of the company was unfair and defended its decision to back England in its clash against Wales.
Simon Osborne said: “LOL, got to love the people in replies getting all angry that British Airways are wishing England good luck against Wales, and failing to understand that BA sponsor the English rugby team!”
Another tweeter who came to the company’s defence, said: “BA sponsor England Rugby, hence the mention & good luck. Same as companies sponsoring football teams, doesn’t mean they despise every other team/country! Face with tears of joy Plenty of things to be angry about at the moment, this isn’t one of them!”
On the website of the England rugby team British Airways said: “As Official Airline Partner of the men’s England Rugby Union team, women’s Red Roses team and both the men and women’s Sevens teams, British Airways is proud to fly the teams and fans of England Rugby all over the world.”