U.S. Airlines Ranked by Twitter Sentiment

Last updated on 10/03/2022

The way travelers communicate has changed over the years. Social media is an easy-to-use tool that can be quite powerful, particularly when discussing a user's viewpoint or experience. Because of this, tracking the data around particular companies or brands is simple when using social media listening tools. Twitter is an extensive resource of customer opinions and satisfaction.

Using sentiment analysis, which uses artificial intelligence to detect the emotional tone of tweets, we identified which airlines received the most negative mentions.

In 2019, we monitored over 96,000 tweets mentioning the nine largest U.S. airlines over a two-week period. In 2021, we analyzed an additional 25,000 tweets to observe how the COVID-19 pandemic had affected rankings. For 2022 we revisited this topic and reviewed 3928 tweets to monitor the current U.S. Airline landscape and compare these results to previous observations.

For 2022 Allegiant Air was missed off the data as the tweets which were pulled out related to the Allegiant stadium, not the airline.

U.S. Airline Twitter Sentiment Analysis

Airline % Positive % Change Positive From 2021
United Airlines 26% -6%
Spirit Airlines 14% -7%
American Airlines 19% -8%
Frontier Airlines 13% -11%
JetBlue Airways 14% -11%
Delta Air Lines 17% -13%
HawaiianAir 23% -13%
Alaska Airlines 29% -14%
Southwest Airlines 18% -14%

Once again Alaska Airlines has the highest percentage of positive rating, with 29% of their mentions being positive in tone. However, this rating has decreased by 14% in comparison to 2021.

For context, we observed that all airlines have significantly decreased the number of positive mentions across the platform.

Southwest Airlines endured a 14% drop in positive mentions. Similarly, Hawaiian Airlines suffered a 13% decrease, falling from 35.6% to 23%.

United Airlines demonstrated the only reduction in negative mentions, improving their return by 5%. They currently hold the lowest number of negative mentions with 37%.

The most negatively tweeted airline during 2022 was Frontier Airlines with 61% negative mentions.

We set out to identify what caused these negative mentions for each airline. Our research targeted common complaints put forth by customers including delays, cancellations, poor customer service, and lost luggage. This provided us with an idea of what negative experiences may occur across the selection of airlines, as well as highlighting aspects airlines could reference for improvement in the future.

The Top Concerns While Flying By Airline

Airline Delay
Frontier Airlines 14%
American Airlines 11%
JetBlue Airways 11%
Southwest Airlines 11%
Spirit Airlines 10%
Delta Air Lines 6%
Alaska Airlines 5%
United Airlines 5%
HawaiianAir 3%

Frontier Airlines represented the highest percentage of negative tweets (14%) regarding delays. This is a vast increase in comparison to their 2021 data (9.53%).

Southwest Airlines received a substantial 7% of their negative tweets regarding luggage. In 2021 they only received 0.05%, the lowest of all Airlines observed.

Spirit Airlines notably increased to 9% in negative tweets concerning their customer service, demonstrating a 4.2% growth from 2021.

The Top Concerns While Flying Overall

Concern Percentage of Tweets
Money 5%
Delay 4%
Cancel 3%
Customer service 3%
Luggage 2%
Flight Attendant 1%

Money-related complaints represent 5% of all negative tweets across airlines, rising above all. Delays and cancellations remain among the most mentioned in negative tones, however, both have improved substantially.

To conclude, while we cannot use this data to presume that one airline has more shortcomings than another, it certainly gives us an idea of possible opportunities for improvement. Understanding where each airline may struggle can help travelers manage their expectations of the experience of each airline.

A key takeaway from our research is that while negative feedback on social media remains consistent across all airlines, the number of complaints has decreased significantly in comparison to 2021.

For travelers seeking a smooth experience, Hawaiian Air appears to have the lowest number of complaints across social media at the time of publication. 2021 winner Alaska Airlines remains an honorable mention.

Alternatively, travelers should acknowledge the high number of complaints recorded by Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines as there may be room for improvement within their services based on customer feedback.

*Data collected from Brand24