BY Kathleen Roberts |

Social Media Is Changing (for the better) Airline Customer Service

travelFor a while, it seemed like airline customer service was in a serious downward spiral. But during a recent look into how social media has become an important piece of airline branding and customer engagement, I found that airlines are actually using social media to solve customer problems.  Here are a few examples:

JetBlue, with an impressive 1.7M followers on Twitter, does one of two things when passengers are complaining via Twitter about not getting enough information: 1) they respond to the person/people directly or 2) they call the airport to conduct a gate announcement to dispense the needed information. Their social strategist finds it important to reach out to travelers if they see something where they can be of assistance.

Recently, through direct messages on Twitter, a reporter at Digiday was able to rebook a flight after it was delayed for several hours through @DeltaAssist. A Delta spokesperson said they are not giving up on call centers, but that @DeltaAssist is just “one more way of reaching out to customers where we know customers are.” He further mentioned the Twitter account was specifically created to help customers in need.

In another example, a passenger was waiting to board a flight from Phoenix back to the East Coast when he read on Twitter that the inbound flight he was waiting for was at least 20 minutes late. When the passenger confronted the gate agent with the tweet, the agent announced, “Your information is better than mine.” Folks running the airline Twitter feed seemed to know more than employees on the ground.

A study conducted in early 2013 by Allianz Global Assistance shows 30 percent of all tweets are geared toward travel. A few travel-related Twitter feeds you might want to check out (in addition to Christopherson Business Travel’s @CB_Travel feed, of course!) are:

According to the Huffington Post, these are seven of the top 10 travel Twitterers to follow.