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Which Airlines Respond To Tweets Fastest?

by on February 22, 2013 · 17 comments

in Social Media

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A social media benchmark company called Unmetric, which monitors the daily activity of over 6,000 big brands on social media released an infographic yesterday with the relative Twitter reply times of the major airlines and it turns out that American Airlines is the fastest to respond to Tweets, with an average reply time (ART) of 13 minutes and 10 seconds.

You can see the rest of the ART’s in this chart:

Twitter Infographic

But to break it down for you, American Airlines’ Twitter handle @AmericanAir responds to over 80% of tweets in less than 15 minutes. By comparison, most other airlines look like laggards, with some, like British Airways, taking hours and hours to respond to tweets.  From best to worst, here are the ART’s of the airlines surveyed.

@AmericanAir: 13:10 minutes

@DeltaAssist: 20:02 minutes

@JetBlue: 22:39 minutes

@SouthwestAir: 46:58 minutes

@VirginAmerica: 01:14:09 hours

@United: 01:17:57 hours

@USAirways: 01:27:15 hours

@KLM: 01:43:46 hours

@Delta: 07:41:08 hours *Just note, this probably trips some people up since the airline has a dedicated assistance Twitter handle that responds faster.

@British_Airways: 08:07:31 hours

As someone who’s Tweeted pretty much every airline, this isn’t terribly surprising to me, though British Airways’ lag time is downright shameful, and United and US Airways look like they need to get their acts together as well.

Keep in mind, that this isn’t just about customer service, complaint or question tweets, but all tweets, so it looks like American Airlines has really upped its social media interaction with flyers and takes the time to respond to almost every tweet that comes in.

Social media has become crucial to how many companies, including airlines, do business, from special promotions to contests to customer interaction, so it’s good to see that several are taking that evolution seriously.

In terms of its usefulness for flyers, I personally use Twitter to get quick responses when my plans change or there is an issue with my itinerary that I need to address since doing so can often produce quicker responses than just calling. However – and this is something I hope a lot of people keep in mind – I also Tweet airlines just to share news with them, photos of my experiences flying them and just to have fun. After all, social media is a great way to share your experiences and airlines, like any other company, like hearing when they’ve done something right and they deserve to be applauded when they do. Plus, if you complain too often, you never know, the airline could flag you as a trouble passenger and deal with you in other ways.

It’s not just airlines who have improved their Twitter interaction. I’d also single out @AskAmex, the customer service Q&A Twitter handle of American Express, for its quick, accurate and resolution-minded responses whose response team often answers customers’ questions and solve their issues usually within minutes.

Do you use Twitter to communicate directly with airlines? If so, what have your experiences been?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • James Ward

    This absolutely correlates with my experience. Delta are great, KLM bad, BA awful.

  • Bigr3dbears

    AirFrance not only answered after 10 hours, it seemed that didn’t even read my question.

  • oneeyejack

    not doubting you here but do you have a link to this study? thanks!

  • oneeyejack

    did my comment get deleted? was wondering if you could post the link to this study? thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/jodett Jenna Odett

    I encourage you all to take a look at Unmetric’s free Airlines Report here: http://www.slideshare.net/unmetric/contests-deals-and-rebrands-how-the-airline-industry-did-social-media-in-january

  • Matthew

    Just be careful when posting pictures taken on a plane, well, at least United flights…

  • http://www.AdamLasnik.net/ ThatAdamGuy

    Maybe it’s just me, but I take all of this with a grain of salt.
    - For the vast majority of issues I might have with an airline, effectiveness/comprehensiveness of a reply is FAR more important than speed of reply!
    - The chart above tells us *nothing* about the quality of reply. Does “Thanks for your feedback!” count? And isn’t a reply like that pretty useless?
    - I’d frankly rather airlines beef up their customer service teams’ email responsiveness, and empower their phone reps, so that customers and airlines can actually resolve issues in more than 140 character chunks.

    In a nutshell, to be perfectly blunt, I think the whole customer-service-via-twitter thing is wildly overhyped.

  • Jornud

    dont even bother Tweeting LAN.. they won’t answer or help! totally useless ;( was stranded @ airport w/ a cancelled LAN flight and no help!

  • http://www.michaelwtravels.com/ Michael W Travels

    I didn’t realize that JetBlue or Southwest even responded. DeltaAssist and AmericanAir always seem to be willing to try to help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002539773497 Johnny Bench

    Wow. Studying twitter response times? This just goes to prove some people have waaaaay too much time on their hands.

  • Aeroman380

    I think you don’t see the value. In my experience, I have been tweeted faster than waiting on a phone to get an answer. I have been asked to DM my confirmation number for seat changes, delays and to see if I could stand-by for a later flight.

    During an IROPS and cancelled flights in SEA I tweeted AS a question and they quickly replied.
    I have also had great twitter experiences with Delta, JetBlue and Porter.

    So, yes, studying response times on twitter is definitely a good thing as our society wants responses quickly no matter if the response is just 140 characters.

    However, I don’t want the cat out of the bag, meaning, I don’t want too many people to go to the airline’s twitter to clog it up so I can’t ask a question.

  • Dan Nainan

    Clearly you have no idea about the value of social media. Twitter response times can be critical when one is stuck somewhere with a major problem. I’ve been helped immeasurably by Twitter.

    I was on a Delta flight and had a problem with the seat would lean back, and the flight attendant didn’t want to fill out a report about it. I sent a Twitter message to Deltaassist, and within minutes, I had 5000 frequent flyer points in compensation. This all took place while I was on the flight.

    Sending a Twitter message to an airline amounts to a public shaming in front of all your followers. They’d be insane not to respond, and respond quickly.

    If you don’t like it or understand how it works, then don’t use it. Problem solved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002539773497 Johnny Bench

    ditto.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002539773497 Johnny Bench

    Wow. If I’d had any idea that everyone who flies is getting compensation miles immediately after they tweet an airline about a seat adjustment problem I definitely wouldn’t have made light of this study. Can’t wait to give this a try. (lol)

  • Dan Nainan

    I don’t think it necessarily happens to everyone who flies. I have top-tier elite status on Delta, and they take care of me.

    But hey, I think it is definitely worth a try. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

  • RSonny

    Earlier today, I had an issue with purchasing a Fare Lock ticket on UAL. I tried calling their toll-free number and was placed on hold for 15-minutes. While on hold, I also sent a tweet. Surprisingly, I received a call within 2 minutes from United. The agent was able to quickly resolve my ticketing issue. I”ll be using tweet more often now to resolve my travel issue with the airlines…

  • Pingback: Leveraging Social Media To Fix Your Travel Problems | The Points Guy

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