Southwest Airlines Triggers Most Positive Sentiments in Survey of Twitter Chatter

Southwest Airlines had the most consistently positive profile in an analysis of  strongly worded tweets about U.S. airlines. The analysis of social media responses to various airlines considered both strongly positive and strongly negative messages posted during December 2011.

77 percent of the strongly worded positive messages were associated with Southwest, followed by JetBlue with 73 percent strongly positive messages.  Only 42 percent of the strong comments about U.S. Airlines were positive.  Delta Airlines had by far the largest number of strongly worded tweets, over 2,500, with 61 percent of the messages positive.

The analysis was conduced by Jeffrey Breen of the Atmosphere Research Group.

The firm collected more than 50,000 unique tweets mentioning U.S. airlines in December 2011, and applied various filters to ensure a representative sample.  The messages were scored to calculate a “sentiment score” for each airline brand.  Of the 50,000 Twitter  messages in December 2011, roughly 10,000 expressed strong emotions.

Fishing for compliments?  In December, only Southwest and JetBlue scored above 70% in the rankings. Delta, American, and Virgin America were in a  three-way tie for third place just above 60% positive, while United and US Airways had below 50 percent positive messages.

Atmosphere produced “word clouds” to illustrate the relative frequency of the most commonly used phrases in the sample of strongly positive and negative tweets.  Positive words—and American’s Samsung Galaxy tablet giveaway—figure prominently in December’s most positive comments.
Comparing the most commonly used words in the most positive and negative expressions revealed a pattern.  The positive words were as likely to appear in the positive messages as were mentions of the specific things being praised; note the high frequency of “thanks”, “love”, “awesome”, and “great”.  The analysis found that this balance differed from the picture which forms from the most negative tweets;  gripes about delays, customer service, waiting, and long hold times outnumber  strong adjectives like “worst”, “bad,” “rude,” and the  “#fail” hashtag.
A summary of the report is available online from Atmosphere.
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