Do Airports and Twitter go hand in hand?

In the last post, we saw how London Gatwick Airport was using social media to provide additional services to its fliers. Are they alone, or have they started a trend? Have the fliers even noticed, and if so has this increased the airports traffic? In this post we will look at other airports and how well they are or are not using social media, specifically Twitter.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA, there are over 19,700 airports in the United States. Out of those only 503 currently provide constant steady commercial service. So far, out of the 503, only about 50 have an official presence on twitter. As we saw with London Gatwick Airport, their twitter presence has a pretty big following, and we can see how they used twitter and other social media, such as SoundCloud, to make their customers happier. Why should other Airports be concerned with their presence on Twitter? Well Twitter really is a great platform for any business because it allows immediate feedback and conversation. This may be especially useful for airlines to be able to send updates on flight times and delays. Maybe not for the fliers in the airports, but it would certainly be helpful for relatives and family members who are supposed to be picking up their fliers. Say a plane is mid-flight and has left an hour late. If you are supposed to pick your friend up at 6 P.M. and you aren’t tracking your flight on the computer, you could get a tweet sent from the airports official twitter telling you the status of the flight.

A more comical, but still useful example comes from Ronnie Garrett, in which a director of an unnamed airport tells the story about a man who was in the bathroom and ran out of toilet paper. The distressed man then tweeted to the airline’s official Twitter and the staff was then able to solve the problem. This story is silly, but it goes to show how effective immediate social media services like Twitter could be to airports. Emergency updates could also be broadcast this way. Most of the time you can’t understand what the announcer is even saying , between the noise and poor speakers.

In Agnes Huff’s article she mentions some other ways in which major airports are reaching their fliers with Twitter. Some of the examples are; San Diego Airport who tweeted about a water main break  to 8,105 followers, and Harrisburg Airport who had a discussion  with an unhappy flier due to a long wait time for 5,725 other followers/customers to see.

As we can see, the airports using social media services like twitter have been met with generally positive remarks from their fliers. So why aren’t more airports doing this? Well once again it goes back to man-hours. Airports aren’t willing to pay someone to update social media sites frequently. David McMullen finds that only 7.4% of all airports invest over 150 man-hours per month to social media. Only time will tell whether or not investing more money and work into social media platforms will pay off for airports or not.

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4 comments

  1. The airport industry isn’t one that you automatically think of when you first think of social media, but social media can increase the popularity and notoriety of any industry or business, if used in the right way. I really can’t believe that out of 19,700 only around 50 airports have a presence on twitter, it is something that could be created so easily and is such a powerful tool online. If they look at these 50 airports and their success I’m sure it is greater just down to the fact they are creating these connections with customers online and interacting. No matter what industry you are in, customers like a two way communications in which they can have a conversation with a company. Social media and especially Twitter promote this.

  2. The automatic replies and structure of communication Twitter allows for industries such as airlines to function more affectively and professionally is astounding. Just the fact that the automatic responses introduces ideas to fliers (customers) that they are the number one priority and that the employees of the airline is there to serve you and make your trip more comfortable. It’s a good way to structure business.

  3. It is unfortunate to see that so few of our airports are taking the proper measures to reaching out to their customers. With only 2.5% of U.S airports using social media, the other 97.5% of airports leave their fliers unanswered and serviced properly. Flying is a very stressful situation for the fliers, their families, and friends. No one enjoys the wait and restless hours when flights are delayed or canceled. It is understandable that they would to be updated with flights that are not on schedule as well as any other situation that may prevent their flying experience from being smooth. I enjoy the Ronnie Garrett very much because although it is on the sillier sides of how social media is beneficial, it is still effective. Due to the digital age we, as a society, have become very impatient and in response want answers to our questions without delay. Social media provides, in this case, airports the opportunity to meet their clients’ standards.

  4. Airports should definitely be willing to put them money and effort into creating social media accounts. Almost everyone is technically savvy these days, especially fliers, and the need to be updated constantly is growing. Twitter is a great way for airlines to get information out quickly. Even though some of the stories are silly, it just shows how much of an impact social media has on today’s world. It’s great to be updated on the whereabouts of your friends and family and if their flight has landed or been delayed. People like to be in the loop, and that’s exactly what social media does.

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