American Airlines: Redemption Through Social Media

Shana Katz | @shana_katz  Martin Van Buren once said, “It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.” This message especially resonates after the challenges American Airlines faced this past Tuesday.

After grounding their entire fleet due to computer failures American Airlines experienced an overwhelming amount of passenger complaints via social media.

American Airlines passengers reading social media updates on delays.

Now, this isn’t the first time American Airlines has been under strong criticism. It is also not the first time they have impressed us with their customer service success on social media especially with their Twitter stream. Through this adversity they have found a way of redemption through their social media presence, but how?

When the first flood of complaints came in they were quick to respond. The American Airlines social media team immediately began responding to questions about rebooking, cancellations, lost luggage and other issues customers faced after the networking systems failed.  Even stranded passengers claimed that Twitter and Facebook were dispensing more detailed information and updates faster than the agents at the gates.

american airlines twitter

Only a few hours after all planes were grounded American Airlines Tweeted a Youtube message of Chairman and CEO Tom Horton regarding the system outage. Customers being addressed by the head honcho gave the message a nice personal touch.


It seems that American Airlines have found their voice and it is a voice that is changing the way customers view how they handle damage control. Their voice has been described as, “genuine, authentic, clear, confident, savvy, empathetic, welcoming, warm, helpful, and knowledgeable.” It is a voice that is bringing customer service to a whole other level and proves the power of a strong social media presence.

One thing that we can all take away from this is that accidents are bound to happen but it is important to react fast and with diligence.


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