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British Airways apologizes to man who bought promoted tweet to complain about service

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A British Airways Airbus A380 lands after a display at Le Bourget airpor, near Paris. (AFP/File)

British Airways has apologized to a man after he said he was forced to buy a promoted tweet just to get the airline to help with his father’s lost luggage.

Twitter user Hasan Syed, who goes by the handle @HVSVN, vented his frustration Monday by tweeting, "Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous."

Syed, who said that he bought the tweet through the site’s self-service ad platform for $1000, wanted to highlight the airline’s slow response to his customer service complaint after he said the airlines lost his father’s luggage on a flight from Chicago to Paris.

The sponsored tweet was aimed at the airline’s 300,000 followers, but was soon passed around the Internet and his story picked up by the media. 

British Airways responded to Syed's complaint on Twitter Wednesday, apologizing for the delayed response, saying the bag was due to be delivered today.

"We would like to apologize to the customer for the inconvenience caused. We have been in contact with the customer and the bag is due to be delivered today," said a British Airways spokesperson.

Posting on his Twitter account on Wednesday, Syed said his tweet got 76,000 impressions on Twitter --and noted that he was satisfied.

Airlines have successfully been using social media platforms, such as Twitter, to handle customer complaints, but the use of a sponsored tweet may be an industry first.  After seeing the tweet, Marty St. George, senior vice president of marketing at JetBlue Airways said Syed could be setting a new trend.