A delay at the airport is broadcast on social media within minutes by frustrated travellers. Newton Insight looks into how customers react and the long-term customer retention implications for airlines.

Following our series on the role of social media in personal banking, we recently dipped into the world of air travel to examine how airlines use social channels to support their customers. We were interested in exploring how airlines manage the thorny subject of delays and how operational issues affect the customer relationship. Our sample was 40k posts published this year by UK air travellers. From this sample we selected three airlines as our focus; British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair. The trend line below shows activity for the first four months of this year:   When assessing passenger attitudes

to delays, let’s not pretend the context is anything other than bad. For this reason, a standard sentiment analysis doesn’t deliver usable insights. When a flight is late or cancelled, passengers are quick to complain about it. We know this. Within the 40k posts examined by Newton Insight, the majority of complaints from passengers offer up a snapshot of the situation, followed by an expression of their state of mind. This is the context + reaction structure common to a lot of content in social networks. The emotional strength of these posts is well within the scope of how people are… read more »