How Airlines Use Social Media to Cope with Flight Disruption

Tue 29 November 2011 17:10, Vitto Christaldi

How Airlines Use Social Media to Cope with Flight Disruption

We are entering December! The temperature is going down and soon most of you will be in your hometown, celebrating Christmas with the family; or maybe taking a break from cold winter by heading to a tropical island. For most airlines, December is the month to generate great revenue opportunities, but also a month with the highest level of stress due to weather disruptions, delays, snows, ice, etc. How do KLM, AirAsia, and Quantas use social media to cope with the flight disruptions? 



In terms of flight disruptions, KLM handles their problems pretty well by using social media! During the thick foggy days in the Netherlands and UK a couple of days back, a lot of flights were canceled or delayed. Lots of KLM customers complained or raised questions using Facebook or Twitter; and based on what I saw, KLM amazingly responded to most complaints/questions!



On their website, I stumbled on an announcement: “All passengers traveling from or via London on 30 November 2011 whose flight got canceled … can also rebook their flights via Facebook or Twitter”. Passengers can rebook a flight via social media? That is amazing! Not to mention all the interesting postings and promotions that they post daily on Facebook, it is incredible how KLM really uses social media to build up their costumer relationship.

Using internet-meme-phrase, I must say “KLM, you are doing it right!”


AirAsia has the highest amount of fans on Facebook (more than 1.2 million fans!) that I have seen so far. This low cost airline is the pioneer of low-fare travel in Asia and operates to more or less 23 countries in Asia, Oceania, and Europe. 

In terms of engagement with customers on social media, AirAsia is doing pretty well. Besides their main AirAsia Facebook and Twitter accounts, AirAsia also has regional-based Facebook and Twitter accounts where they can be more personal in helping customers in each region (click here to see the list of their social media accounts). However, with that huge amount of social media fan-base, AirAsia could actually create more activities on social media, in order to develop a positive corporate image.



Qantas grounded all flights in October due to union-member strikes, leaving more than 70,000 passengers stranded worldwide. The Australian airline then launched a Twitter contest last week, asking people to tweet about their dream luxury in-flight experience. Instead of generating nice replies, the displeased Qantas customers hijacked the hashtag and backfired them with complaints and bad jokes about the company.

Next to the wrong-timing of the social media contest, Qantas also gives no response on their Facebook on any questions/complaints, or even compliments that they got from their customers; no interactions at all! It’s a pity; because by not responding, Qantas’ image even got worse.

Here is the graph about animosity towards #QantasLuxury contest, created by Meltwater Buzz:





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