How should airlines use social media?

It may look wide open, but there’s not a lot of room up in the sky. Up-and-coming airlines must reach higher altitudes with their social media strategy if they want to succeed.

The fact remains that no matter how many ads airlines run, customers are much more likely to listen to friends and family when deciding which airline to choose for their next trip. So, how can new airlines tilt the scene in their favor?


Below are excellent examples of airlines that had a smooth landing with social media:

  1. KLM Airlines’ Meet and Seat Campaign

Whether or not passengers enjoy their flight depends largely on whom they sit next to. Rather than leave the seating up to chance, KLM Airlines offered passengers an opportunity to screen potential flight mates via Facebook and LinkedIn. Those who opted in had their social media profiles integrated with their flight information and shared with other participants. Passengers would ideally wind up seated next to a more compatible person than one picked randomly.

Lesson: Offer customers more control over their in-flight experience.


  1. The American Airlines Twitter Response Plan

Negative reviews are inevitable in any business, especially for airlines, as weather and other uncontrollable factors can delay or cancel a flight. Customers know this too, and they give big props to airlines who make an honest effort to address their concerns. That’s exactly what American Airlines does on Twitter, all while treating customers with respect. It’s a simple yet often overlooked approach that can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one who might retweet their positive experience to friends and family.

Lesson: Listen to your customers and provide an outlet for genuine communication.


  1. Virgin Atlantic’s Vacation Planner

Vacations are messy. It’s no easy task to sort through dining, lodging, and activities and know the best way to get to each location. Virgin Airlines went above and beyond their duty as an airline to give customers an interactive travel portal. The innovative website gives tourists an inside look at their destination, including the most popular attractions, live updates, and suggestions based on other users’ experiences. It’s a powerful and valuable tool that helps the company stand out among its competitors.

 Lesson: Give customers more options outside of their flight.


  1. United Airlines' Social Specials

Customers love social media, and they also love discounts. United Airlines keeps its passengers engaged on Facebook and Twitter with limited time airfare deals and exclusive giveaways. Savings are widely shared across social media sites, giving airlines essentially free marketing miles. These likes, shares, and retweets not only boost ticket sales in the short run, but also stir interest and solidify customer loyalty. 

Lesson: Give customers more discounts and let them do the marketing for you.


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