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Airlines That Will Ignore You on Twitter

american airlines logo Airlines That Will Ignore You on Twitter

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Had a flight delayed due to rainstorm Irene? Perhaps you experienced something like this! American Airlines,* AirTran, Continental and United did not respond to customer inquiries on Twitter during the influx of questions caused by the storm, according to New York-based customer service clearinghouse STELLAService. TL;DR press release: “If you were one of the unlucky airline passengers stranded due to Hurricane Irene, be thankful you weren’t flying on American Airlines.”

According to the report:

American Airlines did not respond to any customer queries sent via Twitter and was slowest in answering customer calls, making customers wait on hold for an average of 1 hour 32 minutes and 39 seconds.
Delta responded to 100 percent of customer tweets, clocking an average response time of 14 minutes.
JetBlue also shined on Twitter, responding to 83.3 percent of tweets in an average of 11 minutes.
U.S. Airways ranked first when it comes to fastest customer support, answering customer calls in an average of 2 minutes and 38 seconds and responded to 16.7 percent of tweets

In other news, American Airlines also lost a passenger’s cat.

More data from the survey:

Average call hold times of ten largest airlines during Hurricane Irene (hours:minutes:seconds)
U.S. Airways 0:02:38
Southwest Airlines: 0:08:10
Continental: 0:08:15
United Airlines: 0:12:04
Spirit Airlines: 0:24:07
JetBlue: 0:24:17
AirTran: 0:27:52
Frontier Airlines: 0:29:54
Delta Airlines: 0:33:43
American Airlines : 1:32:39

Average Twitter response times of ten largest airlines during Hurricane Irene (hours:minutes)

o Delta Airlines: 0:14; Responded to 100 percent of tweets
o Frontier Airlines: 4:04; Responded to 100 percent of tweets
o JetBlue: 0:11; Responded to 83.3 percent of tweets
o Southwest Airlines: 6:12; Responded to 83.3 percent of tweets
o Spirit Airlines: 1:10; Responded to 41.7 percent of tweets
o US Airways: 0:24; Responded to 16.7 percent of tweets
o AirTran: No response
o American Airlines: No response
o Continental: No response
o United Airlines: No response

Methodology:
The survey was conducted on Friday, August 26th. An average of eight phone calls were made to each airline from 9am ET to 6:30pm ET on Friday, August 26th. For the Twitter data, 12 tweets were directed to each airline between 12am ET to 12pm ET on Friday, August 26th.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, August 31st, American Airlines sent Betabeat the following statement disputing the accuracy of STELLAService’s survey.

“We disagree with the findings of the study. We believe it is highly inaccurate and based on an insufficient sample size – eight calls and 12 tweets on average – that skewed results and does not represent reality. We handled more than 100,000 calls on Friday, and during the period in question our customers waited an average of 21 minutes – far less than alleged and in line with most of our peers. Our response time for AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold customers averaged from 30 seconds to less than three minutes per call.  Of the 78 tweets directed to us from Thursday through Sunday, a significant number of which did not request action, we responded to 46 tweets either publicly or privately to assist customers, and we also sent four proactive tweets with travel information related to the storm. Each day, and especially in times of service disruption, we make responding to and informing our customers – whether through social or other traditional direct channels – our highest priority.”

UPDATE: STELLAService updated its study: “The tweets sent to American Airlines were sent to an account they deem to be inactive, so we have removed their Twitter findings and updated the above chart for that as well.” American Airlines’s response: “We disagree with the findings of the study. We believe it is highly inaccurate and based on an insufficient sample size – eight calls and 12 tweets on average – that that skewed results and does not represent reality. We handled more than 100,000 calls on Friday, and during the period in question our customers waited an average of 21 minutes – far less than alleged and in line with most of our peers. Our response time for AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold customers averaged from 30 seconds to less than three minutes per call.  Of the 78 tweets directed to us from Thursday through Sunday, a significant number of which did not request action, we responded to 46 tweets either publicly or privately to assist customers, and we also sent four proactive tweets with travel information related to the storm. Each day, and especially in times of service disruption, we make responding to and informing our customers – whether through social or other traditional direct channels – our highest priority.”

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com