How to engage with airlines on social media

Dec 22, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

Travelers are taking to the skies in large numbers after nearly two years of being grounded. With the busy holiday season, it’s inevitable that flights will be delayed or even canceled.

TPG has written stories about long wait times when calling the airlines for help, but you don’t always have to wait on the phone to receive assistance. Airlines have made it easy to reach out via social media. Major carriers often have entire teams dedicated to monitoring Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see what customers have to say about and, more importantly, to them.

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While tweeting alone likely won’t get you help with your flight, an upgrade, a waived fee or any other financial benefits, engaging with an airline in the right way and on the right social media platform can be a lifesaver when dealing with problems — including flight delays and cancelations, lost items or misdirected luggage — that inevitably arise during air travel. Below we share the most active airlines on social media and which platform is best for reaching out.

In This Post

Twitter is tops for troubles

If you’re trying to get a problem solved quickly, Twitter should be your go-to social media platform. Most U.S. airlines now have social media response teams monitoring their Twitter feeds 24/7. These teams aren’t a bunch of isolated computer geeks who specialize in witty comebacks and reciting customer service phone numbers — they tend to be made up of extremely well-connected reps who are plugged into all areas of the company so they can find the best way to help you with your issue.

Many airlines also run Facebook and Instagram accounts, but those places aren’t ideally suited for customer service issues, since Instagram is too image-focused and airlines tend to get too many Facebook posts to respond to issues quickly. If you’re seeking help for a time-sensitive issue — like, say, the laptop you left on a plane that’s taking off for Dallas in an hour — Twitter is the place to go.

Follow your favorite airlines

Most airlines conduct all of their Twitter business, from customer service issues to discount offers and singing flight attendant videos, under the same handle.

Should you ever need to tweet an airline about a problem, you’ll save a lot of time if you’re already following that airline on Twitter. That way, the airline will be able to direct message (DM) you immediately with a response, rather than wasting time tweeting you to follow them so you can continue your conversation privately — which you’ll have to do should the airline ask you to relay private information such as your reservation confirmation number. If you’re trying to get help with a missed flight, that saved time could be very valuable.

For reference, here are the Twitter handles for several major airlines:

Delta Air Lines: @Delta
United Airlines: @United
American Airlines: @AmericanAir
JetBlue: @JetBlue
Southwest Airlines: @SouthwestAir
Alaska Airlines: @AlaskaAir
Frontier Airlines: @FlyFrontier
Hawaiian Airlines: @HawaiianAir
Spirit Airlines: @SpiritAirlines (although the carrier encourages you to contact them here)
Allegiant Air: @alliegiant (although the carrier encourages you to send them a DM or contact them here)
Sun Country Airlines: @SunCountryAir (For a formal response, click here)

Call if you’re still not getting anywhere

(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

Reaching out to an airline via social media is great for a speedy response. Still, it doesn’t hurt to get in touch the old-school way by picking up the phone and calling an airline’s customer assistance number in a pinch. Already at the airport? Get help at the airline’s customer service desk in person. If you’re trying to get a problem solved quickly, there’s nothing wrong with hedging your bets to make sure you get someone at the airline to help you.

Related: How to quickly reach an airline customer service agent

Be courteous

No matter how stressed you are about a canceled flight or how angry you may be at a snippy flight attendant, being snarky and/or verbally abusive toward an airline on social media is not a good way to behave when you’re asking for help. Your posts aren’t being read by some faceless corporation — they’re being read by a living, breathing person who won’t respond well to his/her employer being cursed at or insulted.

As a matter of policy, some airline social media response teams won’t even engage with an abusive or volatile passenger, so an online freak-out won’t get your problem solved any faster. It’s okay to let airlines know you’re upset — just remember to detail your problem in a respectful, just-the-facts manner (no venting, rambling or cursing), and you’ll likely get a better response.

Bottom line

Social media isn’t all about problems. If you want to comment on an airline’s cool photos, share your memories of a good flight or post your travel pics or videos, FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest are good places to do so. Some carriers even run contests for customer-shot videos or pics to encourage engagement. Yes, airlines set up shop on social media to help you with your problems, but they want to hear from you during the good times, too!

Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson.

Featured photo by Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

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