Airline Customer Service Via Twitter? Not Much


Which airlines are most and least responsive to respond to comments, questions, and complaints on social media?

The just-released Conversocial Airline Benchmark Report ranks the airlines two ways, according to the percentage of Twitter mentions they responded to, and according to the speed of those responses.

Of the airlines tested, Southwest was the most responsive, directly answering 37.5 percent of relevant tweets, while Alaska Airlines was the quickest, with an average response time of just 2 minutes and 34 seconds. Spirit was the worst in both categories, responding to only 11 percent of tweets, with an average response time of 5 hours and 48 minutes.


From best to worst, the most responsive airlines were as follows:

  1. @SouthwestAir
  2. @Delta
  3. @AmericanAir
  4. @JetBlue
  5. @AlaskaAir
  6. @WestJet
  7. @AirCanada
  8. @VirginAmerica
  9. @united
  10. @SpiritAirlines

Speed of Response

And average response times, from fastest to slowest, were as follows:

  1. @AlaskaAir – 2 mins 34 s
  2. @JetBlue – 5 mins 3 s
  3. @Delta – 8 mins 45 s
  4. @SouthwestAir – 10 mins 2 s
  5. @VirginAmerica – 16 mins 21 s
  6. @WestJet – 17 mins 7 s
  7. @AmericanAir – 25 mins 5 s
  8. @AirCanada – 1 hr 26 mins
  9. @united – 2 hrs 10 mins
  10. @SpiritAirlines – 5 hrs 48 mins

With even top performers like Southwest and Delta responding to fewer than 40 percent of tweets, it’s clear that Twitter has a long way to go before travelers can consider it a reliable channel for communicating with the airlines.

At some point, the airlines may be adequately staffed to handle customer-service issues via social media. For now, if you have an issue with an airline, especially a time-sensitive one, your phone is your friend.

Reader Reality Check

How successful have you been in communicating with the airlines via Twitter?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.


  1. I had a very positive interaction with AA’s Twitter team earlier this year. They were able to take care of a bad situation, regarding a delayed flight, in about 8 minutes. I was very happy with them.

  2. I have had very mixed response from Alaska over the last two years. Two years ago I had a flight changed while enroute in South Africa and they dealt with it perfectly over Twitter via DM. Last year while in South Africa I encountered another flight problem and they refused to deal with it at all. It seems there was a policy change.

    Now I don’t seem to get any help from them. (Blacklisted?)

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