In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, I wanted to take a look at the airline industry and rank airlines by how much customers like them. You can see from the table below that Virgin America is the most liked with Net Sentiment score of 56%, and US Airways is the least liked with a Net Sentiment of -17%. In order to understand people’s attitudes, I decided to look at these airlines in a number of different ways using some new features in NetBase.

Virgin America Flies High Above the Rest

First, I created a Crosstab of the airlines category. In addition to comparing the topics on Mentions and Net Sentiment, I added themes to the comparison. I wanted to understand what people disliked about airlines so I included the themes Delays & Cancelations, Luggage, Poor Service, and Travel Complaints. As you can see from the table below most complaints came from Delays and Cancellations and the fewest number of complaints came from Poor Service.

Virgin America Crosstab

Second, I wanted to understand what people disliked about US Airways and loved about Virgin America. Starting with US Airways, you can see from the timeline below that there have been several different spikes of activity over the last year. For example, on April 13th, US Airways accidentally tweeted out a NSFW image in response to a customer inquiry. US Airways quickly deleted the post, but not before people were able to grab a screenshot. The post went viral. As you can see by the high numbers below this quickly became a shared story online and peoples responses to it were retweeted again and again.

Airlines tweets

Airlines tweets

Virgin America is most liked for both its Customer Service and its Employees. As you can see from the Crosstab below, Virgin America has the highest Net Sentiment for Customer Service and the second highest Net Sentiment for Employees. This is a huge contributing factor in the company’s overall perception online. People on Twitter are constantly complimenting their overall consumer experience and giving shout outs to specific employees for making their travel experience better. I’m sure this positive perception helped Virgin America’s shares gain 30% in its first day of trading.

Airlines tweets

Airlines tweets

Hopefully this blog was helpful in giving you a few points to consider when planning travel for this holiday season. If you’d like to learn more about what’s at the core of an amazing customer experience or gain best practices for social PR crisis management, download the NetBase webinar Best Practices for Amazing Customer Experience.

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