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Top 10 Aviation Crises Handled Through Social Media


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Best instances of social media being used by airlines and airports to tackle crises, keep customers informed in real-time and allay panic.

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Top 10 Aviation Crises Handled Through Social Media

  1. Top 10 Crisis Management Case Studies Featuring:Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably
  2. Case-study 1Wheels-Up landing – Warsaw Airport
  3. Keeping people informed When  a  crisis  takes  place  the  single  most  important  thing  to  keep  in  mind  is  the  need   to  provide  a  constant  flow  of  informa7on.  In  November  2011  when  a  LOT  767  suffered   a  landing  gear  malfunc7on,  Warsaw  airport’s  social  media  team  gave  a  text  book   demonstra7on  of  how  social  media  can  be  used  in  a  crisis.
  4. Using social media to reach more people With  the  emergency  situa7on  being  broadcasted  live  on  TV  the  airport’s  call  center   and  website  were  overloaded  but  the  social  media  team  was  able  to  use  both  Facebook  and  TwiLer  to  keep  users  informed  of  the  situa7on,  thus  easing  the  load  on     “tradi7onal”  channels.
  5. Avoiding the spread of false rumorsFurthermore,   social   media   allowed   the   airport   to   engage   users   into   conversa7ons   and  provide  more  accurate  informa7on  thus  avoiding  the  spread  of  false  rumors/info  and  ul7mately  improving  the  user  experience
  6. Case-study 2Partial Fleet Grounding – Frontier Airlines
  7. Ice pellets vs AircraftsWhen  a  storm  hits  an  airline’s  major  hub  it  is  reasonable  to  expect  some  flight  delays.  However,  what  if  that  storm  happens  to  carry  golf-­‐ball-­‐sized  ice  pellets,  and  damages  one  third  of  their  fleet?    The  solu7on  was  found  by  Fron7er  Airlines  in  social  media.
  8. Two easy stepsThe  airline  knew  from  the  start  that  a  lot  of  passengers  were  going  to  arrive  at  the  airport  only  to  find  out  that  their  flights  had  been  cancelled.  In  order  to  reduce  the  nega7ve  sen7ments,  they  started  using  social  media  to  disseminate  informa7on.    Step  1:  Keeping  people  informed    It  reduced  stress  and  helped  customers  understand  what  was  going  on. 
  9. Listen, Empower, Engage.They  also  knew  that  passengers  were,  understandably,  going  to  be  angry  and  complain  about  it  on  the  social  web.  So  they  used  Radian  6  to  track  down  any  men7on  of  Fron7er  and  address  the  complaints.    Step  2:  Being  proac@ve  and  empowering  their  social  media  team    The  employees  were  empowered  to  help  customers  re-­‐book  their  flights  through  TwiLer  and  Facebook.
  10. Case-study 3Ash Cloud – Eurocontrol
  11. EyjafjallajökullIn  April  2010  the  unpronounceable  name  of  the  Icelandic  volcano  EyjaXallajökull  suddenly  became,  for  all  the  wrong  reasons,  a  very  familiar  one,  especially  for  the  eyes  and  ears  of  airline  staff  and  passengers.        Thankfully  however,  at  exactly  the   Vs.  same  7me,  and  this  7me  for  the  right  reasons,  a  TwiLer  handle  also  became  famous
  12. A reference point for all stakeholdersWhile  several  airlines  did  a  good  job  at  keeping  their  customers  informed,  it  was  the  @eurocontrol  TwiLer  handle  that  provided  the  most  up  to  date  informa7on  on  the  crisis.  Furthermore,  since  most  of  the  tradi7onal  lines  of  communica7on  were  heavily  overloaded  it  became  an  important  reference  point  for  airlines,  airports  and  their  staff.
  13. Constant crisis managementSince   the   volcano   crisis   the   @eurocontrol   handle   has   become   a   reference   point  for  air  travel  disrup7on  in  Europe  and  in  recent  7mes  it  has  handled,  amongst  others,  the  following  crises:       Ø  North  African  revolu@ons  and  subsequent  airspace  closures     Ø “surprise”  strike  from  Spanish  air  traffic  controllers   Ø   Greek  strikes  and  frequent  ATC  delays   Ø   Italian  volcano  (mount  Etna)   Ø   Portuguese  strikes   Ø   Italian  strikes
  14. Engagement and sense of humorFurthermore,  it  has  managed  to  engage  users  by  interac7ng  with  them  and  even   proving  to  have  a  good  sense  of  humor  as  demonstrated  by  the  tweets  below:
  15. Case-study 4Baggage Policy – Delta
  16. A Viral CrisisSome7mes  even  a  simple  misunderstanding  can  cause  havoc,  especially  if  it  involves  passengers  that  are  either  famous  or  highly  respected  by  the  general  public,  as  Delta  Air  Lines  found  out  when  this  video  went  viral:
  17. Mostly negative comments across the boardDelta  received  3.5X  as  many  men7ons  on  TwiLer  as  all  other  US  airlines  combined,    on  8  June  2011,  and  8X  their  normal  men7ons!  The  story  peaked  between  4pm-­‐5pm  ET  on  June  8,  2011,  with  over  800  TwiLer  men7ons  an  hour
  18. Delta posted a response through a blog postDespite  a  public  apology  and  policy  change  to  accommodate  more  bags,  emo7onal  comments  were  received,  almost  all  nega7ve
  19. The response was personal
  20. Why Delta did the best job they could1.  This  was  a  Bizarre  crisis  –  Unexpected  and  something  Delta  probably  never   thought  of  2.  This  was  a  baggage  policy  all  airlines  in  the  US  followed,  not  just  Delta  (and   most  changed  it  following  Delta’s  lead)  3.  Delta  was  fast  in  responding  –  within  2  hours  of  the  topic  peaking  on   tradi7onal  and  social  media  4.  The  response  was  not  through  a  press  release,  but  done  on  a  blog  –  which  is   indeed  the  appropriate  response  to  a  YouTube  video  5.  Delta  made  sure  that  the  response  was  personal,  with  the  author  rela7ng   personal  stories  6.  An  update  was  provided  on  the  blog  itself,  based  on  the  ini7al  comments   received  7.  The  detractors  weren’t  providing  construc7ve  feedback.  Most  were  emo7onal   rants,  hence  didn’t  need  regular  responses
  21. Case-study 5Aborted Take Off – Yeager Airport
  22. What seems to be just another take off…The  problem  with  crises  is  that  there  are  not  usually  any  warning  signs  and  when  a  normal  take  off  turns  into  something  like  the  one  shown  below,  only  a  good  plan  and  an  effec7ve  social  media  team  can  help  manage  the  public  rela7ons  side  of  the  airport  closure.
  23. Immediate reactionIn  Yeager  Airport’s  case  the  key  to  the  successful  handling  of  the  situa7on  was  the  ability  of  the  social  media  team  to  immediately  start  informing  through  both  Facebook  and  TwiLer  by  using  their  already  established  accounts.
  24. Images and press releasesInteres7ngly  the  airport  was  also  able  to  provide  images  of  the  situa7on  and  several  were  later  used  by  the  media.  Furthermore  it  also  managed  to  send  out  press  releases  and  contact  the  media  using  TwiLer.
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  26. Case-study 6In-Flight Engine Failure - Qantas
  27. A recipe for disasterIn-­‐flight  engine  failures  are  drama7c  enough  by  themselves,  however  we  can  only  speculate  on  what  must  have  gone  through  Qantas’  social  media  team’s  minds  when  they  discovered  that  a  huge  twiLer  celebrity,  Stephen  Fry,  was  on  board  the  diverted  A380…  and  that  he  was  twee7ng  to  his  3.5  Million  followers!
  28. Timing is of the essenceWhen  influen7al  users  are  on  board  a  diverted  or  delayed  flight,  fast  response  7mes  are  essen7al  and  they  can  only  be  achieved  through  a  constant  and  effec7ve  monitoring  of  the  social  media  men7ons  of  the  company’s  brand.  In  this  case  Qantas’  social  media  team  proved  to  be  alert  and  was  able  to  react  quickly.
  29. A well-executed recovery!As  it  turns  out  Stephen  Fry  wasn’t  only  upset  for  the  delay  but  had  also  lek  his  wallet  on  the  plane…  Thankfully  Qantas’s  response  team  was  listening  and  managed  to  reunite  the  wallet  with  his  owner,  provoking  a  very  posi7ve  reac7on.     Overall  the  Social  media  team   manage  to:         •   Reduce  anger  by  reac7ng  quickly   and  being  proac7ve   •   Get  a  powerful  TwiLer  influencer  on   their  side
  30. Case-study 7Terror threat – American Airlines
  31. It all started with a phone callIn  august  2010  an  anonymous  phone  call  alerted  of  an  alleged  terrorist  plot  to  hijack  an  American  Airlines  aircrak.  When  the  call  was  received  the  plane  was  about  to  take  off,  filled  with  passengers  and…  mobile  phones  connected  to  TwiLer!
  32. Live TweetingFollowing  the  emergency  protocols,  the  aircrak  was  grounded  and  passenger  were  not  allowed  to  disembark  un7l  the  police  had  cleared  them  to  do  so.  Within  minutes  several  passengers  started  twee7ng  the  crisis  live  from  inside  the  aircrak  providing  a  very  detailed  account  of  everything  that  happened  inside  and  around  the  aircrak.
  33. Taking control of the situationSoon  mainstream  media  spo:ed  the  tweets  and  started  using  them  broadcast  live  developments  of  the  situa>on.      The   AA   social   media   team  realized  what  was  happening  and  immediately   intervened   by  engaging   the   users   who   were  twee7ng   from   inside   the   aircrak  and,   at   the   same   7me,   providing  clear  and  accurate  informa7on  on  the  situa7on
  34. Case-study 8Upset Public Figure – Southwest Airlines
  35. A single tweet = hundreds of angry fansIn  September  2011  Green  Day  singer  Billie  Joe  Armstrong  was  removed  from  a  Southwest  Airlines  plane  for  refusing  to  hike  his  pants  higher  and  asking  the  flight  aLendant  if  she  didn’t  have  anything  beLer  to  worry  about.     Sarcas@c  tweets     Posts  on  SWA’s  wall  +   Crea@on  o  f  a  Facebook  G roup
  36. Negative sentiment increasesThe  nega7ve  tweet  by  Billie  Joe  caused  an  increase  in  nega7ve  comments  as  can  be  seen  in  this  sen7ment  graph  elaborated  by  posi7on2
  37. Quick reaction = Crisis OverHowever  Southwest  Airlines’  team  was  quick  to  react  issuing  an  apology  that  was  followed  by  a  drop  in  nega7ve  sen7ment  and  a  number  of  suppor7ng  tweets  by  SWA  fans.
  38. Case-study 9Extreme weather – Virgin Atlantic
  39. A Snowy Christmas SeasonHaving   a   winter   holiday   season   with   plenty   of   snow   is   perhaps   one   of   the   most   typical  pre-­‐holiday   wishes,   however   during   the   2010   season   it   turned   into   a   nightmare   for  thousands   of   passengers   who   were   lek   stranded   at   London   Heathrow   Airport   by   a  snowstorm  that  forced  airlines  to  cancel  hundreds  of  flights.
  40. Huge Twitter customer service effort during disruption!Virgin  proac7vely  broadcasted  key  messages  to  their  social  following  as  well  as  answering  as  many  individual  passenger  ques7ons  as  possible.    This  peaked  at  more  than  460  tweets,  1,950  comments  and  posts  and  almost  1  million  post  views  on  Facebook  up  to  the  19th  December.    The  social  team  worked  in  8  hour  shiks  to  cover  a  24*7,  one-­‐on-­‐one  response.  At  its  peak,  they  were  handling  a  TwiLer  response  every  20-­‐30  seconds.
  41. Special chartered flight to repatriate US travellers for Christmas, FREE!Since this decision was takenhurriedly, Twitter and Facebookwere used to inform strandedcustomers of the option.Virgin filled the plane by activelypromoting the flight on Twitter forseveral hours. They achieved TopTweet status resulting in filling450 aircraft seats in 7 hours.The fully-loaded flight left on timeand the customers got back toNew York in time to meet theirfamily and friends for Christmas.This was a first for any airline.
  42. Virgin’s integrated communication strategyTrough  social  media  Virgin  was  not  only  able  to  fill  a  747  in  just  7  hours,  but  was  also  capable  of  maintaining  a  posi7ve  brand  image  by  being  proac7ve  and  keeping  people  informed  about  the  development  of  a  situa7on  over  which  they  had  liLle  control.
  43. Case-study 10Extreme weather – Akron-Canton Airport
  44. Immediate responseOn  the  19th  of  July  2011,  a  heavy  storm  hit  the  town  of  Akron,  Ohio,  flooding  the  airport’s  basement  and  shuqng  off  power  to  the  terminal,  forcing  it  to  cancel  all   commercial  flights.  The  airport’s  social  media  team  sprung  into  ac7on  and   immediately  started  twee7ng  all  the  available  informa7on.
  45. Twitter focusInteres7ngly,  the  airport  chose  to  focus  on  twiLer  as  it  provided  a  more  direct  line  of  communica7on  with  the  affected  passengers  and  the  was  a  powerful  news  spreading  tool  as  it  is  monitored  by  mainstream  media.
  46. Visualizing TeamworkFurthermore  the  airport  was  able  to  show  its  efforts  to  solve  the  situa7on  by  tweets  and  Facebook  posts  showcasing  photos  of  its  staff  members  hard  at  work  to  fix  the  situa7on.  One  of  them  even  featured  their  CEO  inspec7ng  machinery  in  the  Airport’s  basement.
  47. Now what?5 Steps towards successful crisis management
  49. American Airlines Flight 24
  50. For more Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably