October, 2021

Fragile Airspace Ahead: Who Tops Consumer Fly Lists?

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Fragile Airspace Ahead: Who Tops Consumer Fly Lists?

The polarization among consumers regarding Airline responses to Covid protocols is undeniable.

As upper management attempts to navigate the fragile airspace post-pandemic, many are stepping on landmines…from mask enforcement policies to vaccination requirements.

While these events receive a lot of buzz, we’re expanding our analysis to understand long-term ramifications. The best way to do this?

First, analyze Consumer Happiness.

The chart below showcases two Airline leaders at the top of the pack: DAL and UAL.

This is a change from the typical “big player” stack order. Typically, Southwest leads in Consumer Happiness. What’s going on?

It’s true LUV happiness has been dinged over the last week due to massive cancellations that the company denies are related to a vaccine-mandate “sick out.”

But LikeFolio data suggests Southwest’s sentiment problems have been growing for months…well before “absenteeism” led to canceled flights over the weekend.

You can see the downturn in consumer sentiment on the chart below. Happiness fell from above 60% positive over the Holiday season to below 30% positive in July.

The most common driver of negative sentiment during Southwest’s peak travel season? Poor execution. Consumer cancelation and delay mentions rocketed at the once golden child of customer service struggled to manage flight changes effectively.

But Southwest has company even further down the sentiment ladder: AAL.

American has struggled with similar issues but is also well-known for its hardline mask enforcement policy…one instance involving a 2-year-old.

Across the board, consumer mentions of experiencing flight delays have increased +355% YoY.

This leaves DAL and UAL with an opportunity to capitalize on poor customer experiences among peers.

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