Airlines Are Second-Most Responsive Industry on Social Media, Yet 76% of Customer Questions and Complaints Go Unanswered


With summer air travel expected to soar, airlines are embracing social media as a customer service channel. But just how reliable is their ‘on-time’ online performance?

A new benchmark study from Emplifi has the answers.

Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience platform, today released a benchmark analysis of how industries use social media for customer care. Amid a highly anticipated summer travel boom, the results show a striking disparity of how airlines have performed when customers post questions and complaints on social media. On one hand, the airline industry is second only to telecom when it comes to providing social media responses. Yet, a whopping 76% of airline customer questions went unanswered on Twitter from January 1, 2022 to April 28, 2022.

How fast to expect a response, if at all?

In comparison to customer questions, the response rate for social media complaints was even worse with 85% of Tweets going unanswered during the same period. However, for those that did receive a response to their question, the response was relatively swift. Emplifi data shows that for the 14 top airlines in the US the average response time to questions posed on Twitter was 1.7 hours, and 5.4 hours on Facebook.

Summer travel expected to take off

As people make up for lost time from COVID-19 restrictions, air travel is projected to surge this summer. According to Adobe Digital Economy Index, airline ticket sales are hitting record highs. As the airline industry struggles to avoid the hours-long wait times for customer phone calls seen last summer, the ability to respond quickly on social media will be critical.

According to an Emplifi study, most consumers rate 24/7 customer service availability and quick response times as the top two factors for driving positive brand perceptions. And 86% of consumers report leaving a brand they trusted after only two poor customer experiences.

“While brands now understand the importance of good customer service, they still have the challenge of keeping up with how quickly customer expectations are evolving. It’s so important to constantly evaluate and adjust their CX strategy to align with the customer’s view of outstanding service. As successful CX leaders know, great experiences build advocacy, deepen customer loyalty, and ultimately increase profit,” said Emplifi CXO Shellie Vornhagen.

A blog post, What to Know About Social Customer Care in the Airline Industry Today, includes additional metrics, charts and analysis regarding how industries are using social media to respond to customer questions and complaints. You can read it here.


Comments made to brands from 81,815 brands on Facebook and 8,954 on Twitter were analyzed from January 01 – April 15, 2022. No direct messages were analyzed as this is a private metric that is unavailable. Industries with less than 50 profiles in the sample were excluded. Only user comments including “?” are considered as questions.

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Barb Rogers

Barb has worked within the digital advertising and marketing space for over 20 years. Over the years, she found it difficult to find information on the simplest of subjects tied to the digital marketing space, so she decided to embark on a journey to create a space that others may appreciate.

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