So far we have seen the dedication of manpower and resources to run online presences for large airline companies. We have also seen that simply having an online presence like Twitter or Facebook is becoming inadequate for standing out among the competition.
Let’s look at American Airlines, one of the biggest Airline companies in today’s field. American Airline’s social media presence includes a Twitter, Facebook, and a blog and travel planning section on their website. “American Airline’s social media team involves 23 employees, with 17 dedicated to customer service” (Edward). Most of the staff is located at their headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. American keeps one employee in London and two in Lima, Peru to provide quick responses at all hours of the day, regardless of location. In terms of manpower, American Airlines is directing more of it towards online monitoring than other airlines that we have looked at so far. And with 17 of those 23 employees on the social media team focused on customer service, that means that using social media to alert the airport of something broken or out of place is a good strategy to use when dealing with American Airlines.
While American Airlines is putting more resources into social media presence, is it enough to make them stand out from other airlines whose social presence is on the rise as well? One thing that American Airlines has decided to do to give them the extra edge in flier social media comfort is their on demand video steaming to your own personal device. This concept is very similar to renting a movie or show from a traditional store like BlockBuster; once you pay for the movie you have 24 hours to watch it as many times as you’d like. Say you don’t finish your movie on the plane or you fall asleep and miss the end, you can even watch it again at your destination for up to 24 hours. This new feature really changes the nature of in-flight entertainment. Because fliers can access their content directly from their mobile device, the need for seat mounted is becoming a thing of the past. And so is only having a choice of three different movies to pick from.
Aside from using social media to convenience, and entertain their fliers, American Airlines used their online presence on Youtube to help their rebranding, and to merge with US Airways. With any industry, when a company attempts to rebrand they can lose customers if the transition isn’t smooth. American Airlines rebranding and merger was quite successful. Part of the reason for this seamless rebranding is the quality of the company’s Youtube videos. Not only are they of excellent quality, but they are clear and do a good job of making sure loyal customers are informed of any changes to the company, both aesthetically as well as functionally.