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Airlines’ online reputations slump further after disputes

Airlines have suffered a decrease in their online reputation according to the latest Kaizo Advocacy Index, with customers venting their anger online over delays, cancellations, strikes and poor customer service.

The biannual Kaizo Advocacy Index measures the online reputation of key brands including the airline sector. In the airline section, covering carriers of all business model types, Virgin Atlantic once again came top, though the brand’s score dropped for the third report in a row.

The scores in the airline sector created the ranking: Virgin Atlantic (10%), followed by easyJet (–4%), British Airways (–14%), bmi (–16%) and Ryanair (–56%).

Rhodri Harries, managing director of Kaizo, observed, “Consumers are more disillusioned than ever with airlines. With economic pressures rising, the importance of holidays has become even more pronounced so a bad experience with your flights means more now than ever. Bad service, delays, disruptions and general lack of customer focus all combine to increase the amount of negative chatter online.”

Ryanair, which Kaizo describes as a “perennial poor performer”, slipped even further in online perceptions with hate campaigns and negative press about hidden costs and extra charges. Safety concerns and accusations of appalling customer service coupled with consistently negative reports expressing outrage at how the brand is putting ‘profit before passengers’ added to its position in the study, said Kaizo. easyJet’s performance also suffered, with the airline receiving a lot of negative comments due to delayed services.

“Poor experiences of airlines probably spark the greatest outbursts online so these brands are always going to need to be extremely active to combat this,” added Harries. “To add context, brands should engage more with those customers that have a great experience and capture their views online and in social media. Of course improving service in flight and before and after the airport is fundamental, but more effective online communications will at least ensure they can help soften the blow of the impact of disgruntled customers.”

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