As sweet crude drifts towards the beaches of the Gulf Coast, businesses from fisheries to hotels are in peril. But one airline decided to use the spill to advertise a fare promotion.
The ad, see in part above, reads "Check out the oil on our beaches" and shows women covered in tanning oil on clean sandy beaches. It then links to a $50 discount airfare coupon called "Best Protection."
The ad set off a flurry of angry messages from customers who came across it Tuesday.
"This is a bad ad. Maybe the oil-covered pelicans can advertise pictures of seagulls and pigeons sucked into jet engines. And to try to make money off of a treasured area that is not responsible for there troubles at all? Total shamelessness," wrote Facebook user Adrian Hickman.
On Twitter, devonxo said "the sad part about this is if it's not stopped in a few months, AC will have oil on its beaches!"
And Koons17112 tweeted: "one word about that spirit ad campaign ... FAIL."
But Michael Twist says "Chill it's joke. bp needs to clean up their mess and until they do they're free game to make jokes about."
In a statement released Tuesday, Spirit says it's simply trying to assure travelers that beach destinations it flies to are crude oil free.
"It is unfortunate that some have misunderstood our intention with today’s beach promotion. We are merely addressing the false perception that we have oil on our beaches, and we are encouraging customers to support Florida and our other beach destinations by continuing to travel to these vacation hot spots."
And they made national headlines in April after announcing they plan to begin charging $45 for a carry-on bag on August 1.
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