United Airlines has dominated discussions among the influencers on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, during the first half (H1) of 2024 (1 January – 24 June), capturing a 19.04% share of conversations about US-based airline companies.

The rest of the top 10 airline companies were American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Skywest Airlines, and Hawaiian, according to the Social Media Analytics Platform of GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Shreyasee Majumder, Social Media Analyst at GlobalData, explained: “In early 2024, safety became a prominent topic in the US airline industry, following the inspections and grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 underscoring the industry’s dedication to passenger safety and regulatory compliance.

“Influencers have observed a favourable trend, notably commending United Airlines for its ‘unwavering commitment to safety’ and strict adherence to regulations. SkyWest Airlines is frequently mentioned by influencers for its robust safety measures and responsive handling of in-flight emergencies, highlighting its commitment to passenger security and medical readiness during flights,” Majumder expanded.

Conversations spiked in January 2024, when United Airlines grounded its Boeing 737 Max 9 fleet for critical inspections. They extensively praised United’s swift implementation of new FAA safety guidelines, including meticulous checks for loose bolts and door plugs. Influencers highlighted the airline’s careful approach to resuming flights, commending its transparency and strong commitment to safety, especially after an in-flight incident led to the comprehensive grounding of all Max 9 aircraft.

American Airlines garnered substantial attention from influencers in late January and February 2024, appearing as the second most-mentioned company with 18.6% ‘share of voice’, driven by discussions surrounding the launch of a new service to Australia and significant layoffs affecting customer service roles.  

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Influencers responded positively to American Airlines’ launch of a new service to Australia, praising the upgraded business class for its enhanced comfort and service features aimed at business travellers and long-haul passengers.

But it came in for criticism after cutting more than 500 staff jobs.

Majumder explained: “Concerns arose over the airline’s decision to lay off 600 customer service roles, citing potential impacts on service quality and increased wait times for assistance. Some influencers viewed this restructuring as a strategic move to cut costs amid operational challenges, prompting discussions on the trade-offs between maintaining service quality and achieving financial efficiency.”