The airline industry always seems to face hot water, or turbulence, on social media. When one issue is aired for the world to see, whether it is disgruntled guests, tired flight attendants, or pilots making inappropriate gestures, it always comes back to reflect on the industry. Its responses to these accounts on social media can either help mend a mistake or light a fire for customers to hold on to for future considerations. There are a few key ethical procedures that should be carried across the industry, regardless of the airline.
Information and Security
A certain amount of responsibility and accountability must be taken to remain ethical and trustworthy to handle guests and their cargo. One of the largest issues right now on social media is the privacy and security of personal information.
- Airlines must ensure how they are using its customers’ information and communicating and following through that their information will not be sold or released for purposes outside of travel necessities.
- Its policies and use of information must be readily available for all current and future guests to read.
- Upon booking a ticket with a company, the airline must explicitly state how the information will be used before the guest purchases.
When it comes to marketing procedures, whether it be for flights, credit cards through a company, hotel deals, or any aspect sold in conjunction with the company, it must be done ethically. Marketing efforts can be aided by positive associations and word of mouth that we can utilize on social media if we employ the following practices. Personalized interactions will be a key factor in the growing market and have not been utilized to the best of its ability (Franko, 2018).
- The ethical board must approve all marketing practices of said aviation company.
- There must be no conflict of interests, biases, or targeted phrasing in the postings. These include sexual orientation, gender, race, wealth, religion, political, or ability.
- They must be focused on the future. There will be no references to past incidents or issues.
Social Media Engagement
Social media engagement is encouraged across the industry. It keeps the airlines connected to its customers and has aided in creating an open forum for questions, concerns, and shared experiences. Additionally, family and friends love to use social media to keep up with their loved one’s flight. Their concern for their safety always comes first, which must be recognized in all communications.
- Active listening and noting keywords or phrases is crucial to ensuring the correct message is being received.
- Responses on any platform must receive a reply within 24 hours to ensure timely communications efforts.
- All engagements must be respectful and truthful, regardless of the nature of the comment.
Social media has aided crises situations is being able to relay vital information quickly and to a wide audience. To avoid a social media crisis, companies should employ a social listening program where a team actively monitors social media to identify potential crises (Greenhut, 2021). To do so, there must be specified criteria that warrants a crisis and changes the approach to the response (Greenhut, 2021). When handling a crisis situation on social media, there are a few key elements to consider.
- All other responses and communications will cease to give attention and respect to the crisis.
- A preliminary statement will go out across platforms to acknowledge the crisis and ensure it is being looked into.
- Create a link on the company website and additional social media platforms to direct all traffic for that specific situation with FAQs, live chats, and continuous updates.
- Have a reliable place for people to respond to and release their frustrations or anger so that the company can control the situation in one single streamlined platform.
Following the key points in this code of ethics is necessary when conducting business on social media platforms. Social media can aid the industry in expanding its reach to its audiences, creating new opportunities, and building relationships with guests. However, without proper monitoring and assurances set in place, the aviation industry is susceptible to situations that would not be of great concern than without social media. Social media will continue to grow and have an impact on the industry, so having the proper tools and guidelines in place will ensure smooth sailing, or flying…
Franko, I. (2018, January 15). 5 Airline Marketing Trends 2018 You Shouldn’t Miss. Diggin Travel. https://diggintravel.com/5-airline-marketing-trends-2018/
Greenhut, S. (2021, November 22). Week 14: Crisis Situations and Ethics. [Video] University of Florida, MMC5363 Introduction to Social Media.