As travelers increasingly send direct messages through platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter, airlines and carriers need to prioritize quick responses to such inquiries.
The takeaway comes from the Airline Benchmark Report from Conversocial, which provides products to help brands manage customer service on social media.
According to the report, North American airlines respond over social in an average of 20 minutes and one second - much faster than the average time for European and Middle Eastern airlines at one hour, 41 minutes.
JetBlue leads the list, responding to customers in an average of four minutes, 50 seconds, with Virgin America, Spirit Airlines and Alaska Airlines less than 30 seconds behind. For the EMEA region, Lufthansa responds the fastest at nine minutes, 15 seconds on average.
The slowest response time for North American carriers was United (one hour, 34 minutes) and in the EMEA, Finnair (five hours, 33 minutes).
But time is only part of the equation. Airlines also need to pay attention to how many inquiries sent via social channels go ignored.
Industry-wide, an average of 25.23% of messages receive a response, but some airlines far exceed that, notably Etihad Airways (50.5%), Emirates (48.7%) Qatar Airways (46.7%) - all ahead of the highest North American carrier, American Airlines (32.5%).
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