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What if you ran a promotion for free on-board Wi-Fi and it doesn’t work from mobile browsers?

That’s the embarrassing situation American Airlines, the official airline of the SXSW 2013 tech conference, finds itself in with a Wi-Fi promotion headlined, Spin to Connect with the new American.

On an American Airlines Facebook page, users can repeatedly spin Wi-Fi, bag and aircraft  icons, and if the three match, then they can enter a sweepstakes for a grand prize of 100,000 AAdvantage miles and a Gogo InFlight Wi-Fi annual pass.

The problem is, however, that you can’t submit your entry if you are using a mobile browser, and it didn’t appear to work from Mac laptops using Safari, and perhaps other desktop browsers, as well.

Facebook comments started pouring in from frustrated users.

American Airlines sweepstakes

American Airlines pinned the blame on Facebook, stating:

“Please try accessing via a desktop browser. Facebook doesn’t support mobile tab promotions. We’re showing a large number of registrants and everything working fine.”


You’d think with e-commerce racing toward mobile devices, including tablets, that American Airlines would have figured out in advance how to run a Wi-Fi sweepstakes where the entrants could use mobile devices to enter.

Sometimes the bee-line to create a new American Airlines can run into serious glitches.

UPDATE: American Airlines reiterated that the mobile problem is Facebook’s, but the promotion had additional technical issues, as well. Here’s American Airlines’ statement:

“Unfortunately, Facebook tabs are not compatible with mobile devices.  This is not just an issue for American, but we advise our fans in the post that they cannot access the promotion from a mobile device.


“We did have some separate issues.  We did extensive QC before launch, but when it launched some customers were impacted.  We trouble-shooted and quickly identified a fix.  We updated our facebook post during this period to keep customers informed.  The tech issue was a back end database that was creating a bottleneck and causing issues.”

Photo Credit: An American Airlines Wi-Fi promotion on Facebook doesn't work for people trying it with mobile devices. American Airlines