In the age of social media influence, the power of a large online following can sometimes yield surprising results. Victoria Paris, a 24-year-old influencer with 1.7 million TikTok followers, recently took matters into her own hands after Air France lost her suitcase during a trip from Los Angeles to Lisbon. What followed was a social media campaign that quickly caught the attention of her followers and ultimately led to the recovery of her lost belongings.
Frustrated by the airline’s handling of the situation, Paris decided to “wage war” on Air France. She took to her social media platforms to share her grievances and rallied her followers to join her cause. In a caption accompanying her posts, she urged her nearly two million followers across TikTok and Instagram to “put their comment section on blast” by spamming Air France’s social media pages.
The response from her followers was immediate and overwhelming. Thousands of comments flooded Air France’s social media accounts, demanding answers and the safe return of Victoria’s bags. Followers wrote messages such as “Where are Victoria’s bags?? WE WANT ANSWERS” and “Stop holding Victoria’s bags hostage,” amplifying the pressure on the airline to take action.
Meanwhile, Paris found herself in Lisbon without her suitcase and limited clothing options. In a TikTok video, she shared her frustration, revealing that an Apple AirTag attached to her luggage indicated that it was still in France while she was in Portugal.
As the public outcry grew, Air France took notice. The same day Paris publicly complained about the incident, she posted a follow-up video showing that the airline had located her bag and sent it to her. In the video, Paris triumphantly declared, “They say bullying doesn’t work, but after thousands of comments on the Air France Instagram and TikTok (pages), the bags are coming home to Mama.”
With her lost luggage situation resolved, Paris displayed a change in tone. She asked her followers to leave thank you notes for the airline, and once again, they complied. Comments like “Thanks for getting our queen’s baggage back <3” flooded her social media posts, indicating a shift from criticism to gratitude.
This incident involving Victoria Paris is not an isolated case. In the past, other public figures have attempted to publicly shame airlines into recovering their lost bags. Professional poker player Steve O’Dwyer took to Twitter and a live broadcast to call out Lufthansa airlines after his luggage went missing for 72 hours. He vowed to “trash @lufthansa every chance I get” and used his platform to pressure the airline.
While the influence wielded by these individuals can result in swift actions from airlines, it is important to consider the broader implications. Influencers misusing their followers to coerce companies into resolving personal issues can create an imbalance of power. Not all travelers have the luxury of a large following or the ability to publicly shame an airline when their bags go missing. For many, lost luggage can lead to long and frustrating hunts, and some unfortunate travelers never recover their belongings.
Examples of Influencers Misusing Their Followers:
Victoria Paris is not the only public figure to use social media to publicly shame an airline for lost luggage. Professional poker player Steve O’Dwyer also took to Twitter and a live broadcast to call out Lufthansa Airlines when his bags went missing for 72 hours. O’Dwyer expressed his determination to trash the airline at every opportunity, stating, “You messed with the wrong passenger.”
Such incidents highlight the unique advantage that influencers possess, as their large followings provide a ready-made army of supporters to amplify their voices. However, not all travelers have access to this kind of platform, leaving them with limited recourse when faced with lost luggage. Many individuals find themselves embarking on months-long hunts for their belongings, with some never recovering their bags.
A More Ethical Approach:
While influencers have the potential to leverage their followers to address issues, it is essential to consider the ethical implications of this power. Influencers should strive to use their platforms responsibly and avoid abusing their influence solely for personal gain. Instead, they could advocate for improvements in airline customer service or engage in constructive dialogue with the companies involved.