Home Airlines U.S. Airlines Ranked By Twitter Sentiment

U.S. Airlines Ranked By Twitter Sentiment

by SharonKurheg

There are lots of companies that, either on their own or in partnership with a marketing research organization, rank airlines. J.D. Power & Associates. Forbes. 10best. Travel & Leisure. AirlineRatings.com. SkyTrax. The list goes on and on.

All those companies gather their data by questioning different groups of people. Each company may have different questions or have other ways of gathering their data, which may or may not skew their respondents’ answers. So for each company, their “winners” may or may not be the same.

There’s another way to determine the public’s sentiments about airlines – what they say about them, on their own, based on their personal experiences. Not in a survey, but when they feel so incensed or inspired by them that they take to social media and put it out there.

InsureMyTrip touts itself as the nation’s first-and-largest unbiased travel insurance comparison site. They’ve been around for 20 years and have an A+ ranking by the Better Business Bureau.

In 2019, InsureMyTrip monitored over 96,000 tweets that mentioned the largest U.S. airlines over a 2-week period and ranked them according to the positive vs. negative tweets they garnered. Here are the numbers they got:

Airline % Negative % Positive
Spirit 69.00% 31.00%
Frontier 63.70% 36.30%
American 55.80% 44.20%
United 49.50% 50.50%
JetBlue 49.50% 50.50%
Delta 48.70% 51.30%
Alaska 37.90% 62.10%
Allegiant 35.60% 64.40%
Southwest 30.10% 69.90%

Based on positive (or less negative) tweets, that would lead one to believe Southwest is the “best” airline, followed by Allegiant, then Alaska.

You find me a survey that says Allegiant is one of the Top 3 airlines in the U.S. LOLOL!

The specific negatives mentioned varied from airline to airline but none were particularly surprising – delays, cancellations, customer service, luggage, money, seats and food. You can check out this page of InsureMyTravel’s website to see the specific numbers each airline got in regards to complaints.

In 2021, they went back to Twitter and analyzed 25,000 more such tweets to see how the coronavirus pandemic had affected those rankings (Note: Hawaiian Air was not included in 2019, but was added to the 2021 rankings).

Airline % Negative % Positive
Frontier 58.94% 23.55%
Spirit 58.55% 20.66%
Allegiant 53.47% 26.20%
American 52.65% 26.79%
JetBlue 52.24% 25.47%
Southwest 45.09% 32.00%
Delta 44.51% 29.82%
United 42.33% 31.91%
Hawaiian 34.17% 35.60%
Alaska 31.96% 42.76%

As you can see, complaints against most airlines went down, save for Allegiant (17.87% increase in complaints – so much for it being in the Top 3 anymore), JetBlue (25.74%) and Southwest (14.99%). And the percentage of positive comments went down for every single airline, some by close to 40% (InsureMyTrip’s chart shows all the 2019 to 2021 comparisons).

Not surprisingly, the topic of complaints also changed from 2019 to 2021. Delays, cancellations, customer service, luggage and refunds were still mentioned. But COVID-19 issues were, not surprisingly, also concerns. These were the top overall concerns people mentioned in their tweets:

Concern % of Tweets
Cancellations 7.19%
Delays 6.67%
Customer Service 4.53%
Refunds 2.98%
General COVID-19 1.28%
Masks 0.84%
Luggage 0.78%
Hidden Charges/Costs 0.73%
Tests 0.27%
Cleanliness 0.19%
COVID-19 forms 0.04%
Social Distancing 0.02%

Again, you can go to this page of InsureMyTravel’s website to see the specific numbers each airline got in regards to specific complaints.

I found InsureMyTrip’s rankings, based on “Tweets in the wild,” rather than surveys, to be a refreshing look at how U.S. airlines did in the collective eye of U.S. consumers.

Feature Photo: Public Domain

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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