Top 10 Crisis Management Case Studies: How Social Media Can Help Airlines Deal With Their Worst Nightmares

Crises in the Air Transport industry come in many shapes and forms but they usually have three things in common: 1) no prior notice or warning signs, 2) the need to inform large numbers of people in a very short time and 3) a large number of (increasingly digital) angry/distressed people.

However, regardless of whether the crisis is something the airline did to itself , an uncontrollable natural phenomenon or a strike, there is always a need to reach large numbers of people as quickly as possible, providing information, answering their questions and avoiding the spread of false rumors.

In today’s increasingly connected world, social media has proven to be the crisis management tool, and has been used successfully by both airlines and airports in a wide range of scenarios. The reason for its effectiveness is based on two factors: the first is that it allows the kind of mass communication and information dissemination that we mentioned earlier, and the second is that they are the place where an increasing percentage of users go to complain and seek information.

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At SimpliFlying we’ve accumulated a wealth of experience consulting in social-media based crisis management strategies for both airlines and airports and, as our readers will know, we have even dedicated a section of our website to this subject and created an infographic for easy reference.  Today we’ve collected the best case studies on crisis management in one case-pack. Enjoy!

Planning is crucial to managing crises. Does your airline or airport team need a primer in handling crises via social media? We can help! Write to us at contact@simpliflying.com.


  • Download the latest “SimpliFlying Airline Crisis Guide” – An overview of 6 types of airlines crises concerning social media, including real-world case studies from recent years.
  • Preview Crisis Communications Quarterly Report – An in-depth report of the 15 most important airline crises and disruptions from the latest quarter, assessing how they were handled, and how they could have been handled better.

Marco Serusi

Marco Serusi

Senior Consultant at SimpliFlying
Marco Serusi is SimpliFlying's director of consulting and has worked on major client projects with the likes of LATAM Airlines, London Heathrow and Airbus He has also delivered training in digital aviation strategy for hundreds of executives globally and spoken at several aviation conferences worldwide. He is well known for his cutting-edge research into crisis communications and social media trends. Serusi started his career in aviation after graduating in Air Transport and completing his Masters with a specialization in marketing. He is Italian who also speaks Spanish and English fluently and has lived in several countries including the UK, USA, Italy and Spain. He has been with SimpliFlying for over 6 years.You can talk to him in Italian, English or Spanish. You can also tweet him at @simplimarco, e-mail him at marco@simpliflying.com.
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Showing 3 comments
  • Christian Lüdi
    Reply

    Very nice presentation, thanks a lot. I just miss one best practice case: Alaska Airlines & Horizon Air when they had a huge computer crash. One very nice point in their crisis communication was a YouTube video with the two CEOs where they explained the crash and why nothing is working now and said sorry for the troubles caused.
    Best regards from Zurich,
    Christian

  • Marco Serusi
    Reply

    Hi Christian, thanks for the tip 🙂

    Unfortunately because we can only feature 10 case studies we had to be very selective and this was one of several case studies that we had included in our initial shortlist but were not chosen for the final top 10.

    I’m glad you enjoyed our top 10

  • Srinivas Rao
    Reply

    Hi Marco,

    Excellent post on how airlines need to handle their communication and crisis communication in particular and move on with the latest technology and social media to get the message across effectively and in quickly.
    Very apt for the industry in how they handle their communication

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