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Earlier this summer, we ranked some of the top airline Twitter accounts to see how they performed. It was no surprise to see @United rank near the bottom, below @JetBlue, @DeltaAssist and @AmericanAir.

Rank Twitter Total Mentions Responses Response Rate Avg. Responses/User Avg. Response Time
1 @JetBlue 5,151 1,690 33% 1.94 6 min.
2 @DeltaAssist 5,383 2,926 54% 1.95 17 min.
3 @AmericanAir 16,218 6,649 41% 1.86 21 min.
4 @United 10,426 1,686 16% 1.38 237 min.
5 @SouthwestAir 7,759 1,884 24% 1.3 453 min.

But it wasn’t always that way. I started messaging United on Twitter way back in 2012, when the airlines first began investing in social media support (JetBlue got its start a couple years before that). At that time, United responded within a few minutes, making Twitter support a viable (and even superior) alternative to calling in.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.45.03 AM

Over the past year, however, Twitter responses have begun to dry up, oftentimes requiring a follow-up (or several) before receiving a response. Take, for example, the above chat from a few months ago. An interaction that once would have required 15 minutes of back and forth took three DAYS to complete.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.42.40 AM

As of this month, the situation has improved dramatically. I mean, just look at those response times! Both of these requests required some research, yet I still heard back in just a minute or two.

I’ve already re-qualified for United 1K status for the year, which means I fly United (and its partners) a LOT. Being able to reach out to the reservations team via text message (or its equivalent) is tremendously useful, especially when you’re mid-flight trying to fix an itinerary after a delay (which happens often, unfortunately).

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 10.08.46 AM

Social media is so important, in fact, that it made our list of 10 Changes We’d Like to See from United’s New CEO. Based on my recent Twitter interactions, I think it’s safe to knock that platform off the list. And if the above exchange is an indication, it seems like the airline has made some improvements on the Facebook front, too.

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