More airlines around the globe are turning to social media to reach their customer base. In its Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 aviation consultancy SimpliFlying found the following:
- There is a greater focus on driving core business goals from social media, and customer service has emerged as the top priority for 88.5 percent of airline executives;
- Dedicated teams received a 100 percent satisfaction score;
- There appears to be a gap between the priorities, preferred team structure and optimism of the senior level and middle-level management;
- Regional differences in terms of priorities and challenges are quite stark. 75 percent of Middle Eastern airlines recognize inflexibility of team structures as the top challenge whereas only 43 percent of airline executives in Asia Pacific (APAC) felt the same. Similarly, driving loyalty using social media was a priority for 88.5% percent of Middle Eastern airlines but only for 55 percent of European ones; and
- 71 percent of airlines expect an increase or staying same of social budgets in 2015-16. Of these, 50 percent expect budgets to be increased for advertising. 25 percent expect it to go towards the acquisition of new tools and 25 percent towards team expansion.
Below is a list of 15 international carriers to consider following on Facebook.
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Ireland's ultra-low-cost carrier uses its official page tout fare and car hire deals, destinations, contests and live flight information. It also showcases posts from its official blog that showcases the cities it serves. There are also videos and photos posted on the page. Passengers use the posts to complain about issues with the airline, which it tends to address sporadically.
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Australia's flag carrier uses its Facebook page to interact with passengers and potential customers. Upon reaching the page, an instant message pops up: Hi YOUR NAME! You can now use Qantas Messenger to: 1. Chat with someone from Customer Support. 2. Browse amazing travel content. Ready? Say hi!
And it goes from there, with a lot of content that looks like the airline's social media team is really trying to engage with its audience. There's everything from a video tour of the new 787 Dreamliner conducted by a Qantas captain to a blog post on 20 must-see cities the carrier serves.
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The country's flag carrier sets the tone by sending an automatic instant message when you land on the page: Dear YOUR NAME! Thanks for getting in touch with us on Messenger. Please send us any questions you may have. The airline uses Facebook to recruit, show off photos of its fleet, showcases its inflight food and beverage service and promotes its app by offering fare discounts. It even encourages visitors to apply for jobs at the airline.
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The Facebook page of this British carrier matches its cheeky and fun personality. It follows Emma, a flight attendant, noting how much coffee and tea she serves, along with steps taken (12,000 to be exact) on a flight from London to Los Angeles. It posted a video noting its status as the first airline to offer entertainment for blind passengers and photos of its first Airbus A350-1000.
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The French flag carrier posts in English and French, with links to great photos and videos on its destinations. Its timeline includes informational videos, destination contests, a series of photos under the #FranceIsInTheAir hashtag and flash fare sales. I like the content, but I wish they would post more than once or twice a month.
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This Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based carrier is very active on Facebook, and you can tell the moment you arrive on its page. Right off the bat, it lists the hours airline representatives are available (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and offers exclusive updates and fares for those who like the page. Followers can also book flights from a link. It also highlights cities on its route network, attractions to visit in the cities it serves, which planes have inflight connectivity and an announcement of the creation of a Quiet Zone on Air Asia X flights.
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The UK flag carrier offers a direct link to book a flight and points customers with service issues directly to its Twitter account. The page does things including promoting British musicians, highlighting visitor attractions in the cities it serves, offering tips for planning a trip and even celebrating the birth of Princess Charlotte. The carrier actively engages with its followers.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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The Dubai-based carrier has staff available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. GMT to help customers and points them to a link if they need more assistance. It offers videos of its events, destinations and working for the company, new destinations, photos of its fleet and past contest winners, aircraft deliveries and inflight connectivity.
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The Dutch flag carrier gets my vote for the airline that uses social media -- including Facebook -- the most effectively. As you land on the page, there’s a clock that will tell you how long it will take to get a reply to any queries, and that it operates 24 hours a day. It goes up from there, with a link to book a flight, amazing photos and videos, interesting ways to greet people, flash fare sales, why flights are delayed and many other informative items. And the KLM team answers every query.
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The Santiago, Chile-based carrier shows its colors on the front of its page with a photo of two jets parked in a soccer stadium to celebrate its status as the official airline of the Copa America 2015 tournament, the event for South America teams. It features a video series, #SpeakLikeALocal, along with travel contests, local sponsorships, packing tips and photos and videos.
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The carrier appears to have put its Facebook page on hold after the March 2015 crash of an Airbus A320 operated by subsidiary Germanwings. The logo and cover photo are flanked by the hashtag #InDeepSorrow. But the team still appears to be answering customers’ questions.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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The carrier’s page features a direct booking tab, along with photos and videos. It also spotlights bloggers who post about the airline, fare sales, city highlights, inflight entertainment, inspirational travel quotes and a history of the iconic Singapore Girls. And the customer service agents answer every question.
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The carrier’s cover photo tag line reads “Delightful People, Delightful Stories.” It features travelogs of the cities it serves, a travel contest, a celebration of National Tourism Week, traveling alone and packing tips. Those monitoring the page also answer questions and offer further assistance offline.