Obscene sexual photo sent out by USAirways’ Twitter account

US Airways launched an internal investigation Monday after its Twitter account sent out an obscene picture in response to a customer complaint.

Although the tweet in question was removed almost immediately, Twitter users instantly seized on the photograph to mock the airline, which merged with American Airlines in December.

“We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating,” US Airways said on its Twitter feed.

The offending picture showed what appears to be a model Boeing 777 jet and a naked woman in a compromising position.

The episode apparently began when @ElleRafter, a Twitter user from Portland, tweeted to US Airways about what she said was poor customer service.

After several tweets from @ElleRafter, US Airways responded to her online.

“We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up,” the airline said. But instead of a link to the customer service page, the airline posted a link to the obscene photo, which showed up as an image.

Charlotte-based spokesman Davien Anderson repeated the airline’s tweeted comment in response to questions about how the image was posted.