Those planning to travel by air in the coming weeks or months may be interested in what fellow travelers had to say about each airline. Text analytics startup Luminoso recently used natural language processing technology to analyze nearly 160,000 Twitter posts referencing five different airlines during August.
Luminoso took the results and divided them into eight different categories: customer service, crew, delays / cancellations, luggage, entertainment, seating, security and charges / fees. The airlines – American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United and Virgin America – were then ranked against each other in each category as well as given an overall satisfaction rank.
Data shows that Twitter users favor Virgin America above all as it ranked number one in all but three categories. American Airlines and United, meanwhile, finished in dead last in all but one category – customer service. JetBlue and Delta finished second and third overall, respectively.
Luminoso selected these particular airlines based on a combination of market share and online customer sentiment. Clearly there are some big name airlines such as Southwest that are missing from the group but perhaps they'll make it into a future study.
Earlier this year, a separate study from Airfarewatchdog found Delta to be the best airline while United once again finished in last place.
The results are far from scientific and only represent a tiny segment of air travelers. What’s more, it’s common practice for people to use social media outlets like Twitter to dish out complaints rather than praise for a job well done.