Why Airlines Are Cruising on Social Media

Mary Manzo

November 29, 2011

Why Airlines Are Cruising on Social Media

AirplaneIn the past year most major airlines have made the initiative to take off on social media, launching a variety of social efforts to connect with their fliers. In lieu of the recent news about American Airlines, the importance of social media to the aviation industry is more apparent now than ever.

For anyone that is still questioning the power of monitoring social media, take a look at American Airlines.

It was announced in October that based on Amplicate's social media analytics report that American Airlines is the most hated US airline.

The report stated that only 12-percent of the comments about American Airlines were actually positive. Let me put it this way, that is almost 90-percent negative feedback. 

And today the parent company of American Airlines, AMR Corporation, announced that they are filing for bankruptcy.

American Airlines Goes Bankrupt, Could Social Media Have Prevented This?

Social media marketing is a proactive effort that [if executed effectively] should help your business stay ahead of the game. This is why AMR's attempt at a social media campaign earlier this year was never going to prevent the imminent crash that was announced today.

Though social media can be reactive and companies should be responsive to trends and public opinion, it should not be a game of catch up.

American Airlines isn't the only US airline that has been experiencing turbulence in business. Amplicate found that 57-percent of all comments about American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines and US Airways were negative. American Airlines just happened to be the worst.  

According to the American Customer Satsifaction Index: American Airlines, Delta, US Airways and United Airlines all rank in the top ten most hated companies in America.

So is it another surprise that Delta, United and US Airways have also all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcies in past recessions?

In 2007 a prominent neuropsychologist compared flying to passing through a riot. Travelling and flying are relatively stressful experiences for most. Most US airlines make little effort to alleviate that stress and fliers are not afraid to share their frustrations and woes on the social network of their choice.

The correlation between the three most loved airline carriers and their strong social media presence is no coincidence. Virgin Atlantic, Jet Blue and Southwest have been developing their social media presence and have committed to innovation in customer service and community.

Social media isn't the magical answer to a failing business model. But it should be a facilitator for communication, support and quality assurance.

How Airlines Use Social Media

If any of the US airlines that have had issues with Chapter 11 in the past want to avoid more problems with bankruptcy they should invest more time in customer satisfaction and social media should be a vital component in ascertaining these goals.

Mary Manzo

This article was published by Mary Manzo.

Mary is a recent graduate from William Paterson University where she majored in Journalism and Public Relations. Her internships and background are in traditional PR but she dove into the social media spectrum with the early understanding that it will be a crucial platform for reaching audiences. Miss Manzo is also a self proclaimed foodie and lover of people watching. Follow her on Twitter: @mrymnz.

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