New Research From Unmetric Uncovers Airline Industry Social Media Trends

American Airlines continues to lead the way in terms of customer service on Twitter. In 2016, it responded to 45% of its 833,000 mentions with an average reply time of 35 minutes.

Unmetric, the leading brand-focused social media intelligence company, today released new research that shows how 15 North American airline brands have embraced social media and the trends that have emerged in the industry.

The companies analyzed in Unmetric’s report across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest include: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian Airlines, Jetblue, Southwest, Spirit, United, Virgin America, Volaris, and WestJet. The insights from the report were the resulted from analysis of 260 million user interactions across 118,000 pieces of brand content.

Unmetric Discover, a searchable database of over 500,000,000 pieces of brand content, surfaced the most popular topics that North American airline brands talked about on social media in 2016. Promotions were used 8,400 times and comprise a bulk of airlines content due to high engagement. For example, WestJet’s inspired contest encouraged people to tag friends and received over 25,000 comments. Other popular topics included on-board facilities (used 6,800 times), and business class (business class and business lounge used 5,000 times combined).

United Airlines’ PR crisis in April that arose from a passenger being dragged off a plane generated a lot of social media activity. The day after the incident, United’s CEO released a statement that many believed fell short in terms of apology. Facebook users left over 130,000 comments on this post, making it one of the most commented brand posts ever. Over 143,000 people ‘reacted’ to the Facebook post, and 90% of them with the ‘angry’ emoji.

As of the end of May 2017, United’s share price rose to an all-time high and user interactions fell back to pre-March 2017 levels, suggesting that the crisis was well behind them.

Other Key Trends Include:


  • User mentions of airlines are on the rise.


On Twitter, airlines fielded an average of 712 mentions per day, representing an increase of 141% in user mentions per airline between 2013 and 2016.

  • Response times are getting…

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