A recent news item at The Street.com piqued my interest. The story was about how well the airlines were doing in social media. Toronto based Engagement Labs measures the social presence of brands on “networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.” According to the article, American came out on top for Twitter and Facebook, while United ranked second for Twitter. Delta, on the other hand ranked third at Facebook and sixth at Twitter. (Image courtesy of Twin Design / Shutterstock.com)

airline social media

I’m not surprised that American scored well. They seem highly engaged on Twitter hand have been good about responding to my own questions the handful of times I’ve broached an issue via Twitter. I can’t really speak to United. Delta, on the other hand, will engage at times but that usually comes from the @DeltaAssist team as opposed to the main @Delta handle. Southwest’s Twitter team, while not mentioned in the article, recently responded to a blog I wrote, reaching out to help with an issue I raised.

This is all well and good, but it leads me to ask, does it matter? While I enjoy a little light banter via Twitter as much as the next guy, the things I care about when it comes to travel are operational reliability, schedule, and price. As long as I’m getting where I want to go on time and with my bag, I’m good. On the other hand, in an increasingly social and millennial oriented world, I think outreach via social channels is not only desirable, but required. Airline social media teams need to be equipped with the tools and authority to identify and resolve issues. In doing so, they can get ahead of potential service problems, and possibly prevent service issues from spinning into formal complaints. Kudos to American for building a winning social media team. Will Delta step up their Twitter game and build upon their successful @DeltaAssist channel?

-MJ, March 24, 2015