Delayed flights, missed connections, lost luggage and malfunctioning TV screens are all part of air travel, but where do you turn when you need to air grievances?

Meeting and event planners and other flyers have increasingly looked to social media in hopes of having their questions answered quickly and effectively. Airlines, in turn, have met this surge in social media communication with varying degrees of success. Here’s a look at what we’ve learned so far.

The Study

A recent study conducted by Conversocial, a self-described “customer engagement solution,” helps shed some light on the subject. The firm’s Airline Benchmark Report 2018 examines the current state of airline carriers’ social media strategies, analyzing data for 20 U.S., European and Middle Eastern airlines. The study focuses on time taken by each airline to respond to customer queries, as well as airline response rate.

The Findings

The findings reveal that North American airlines’ average response time to public tweets is 20 minutes, while that of European and Middle Eastern airlines is a substantially tardier 1 hour, 40 minutes. JetBlue topped the poll, coming in with a 4-minute, 50-second average, while Finnair came in slowest, with an average response time exceeding 5 hours.

The findings showed a poor response rate to tweets by airlines, with Etihad being most responsive, at 50 percent, and American Airlines being the most responsive U.S. carrier with a response rate of approximately 30 percent. Of the North American airlines, Air Canada was found to be least responsive, at 10.3 percent, while in Europe and the Middle East, Lufthansa found itself in last place, at 13.4 percent.

Conclusion: 2018 is the Year of the Private Message

Fortunately, Conversocial’s internal analysis of the private messaging data of three of its airline partners yielded more promising results. The analysis concluded that Facebook Messenger messages had doubled during the six-month-long study, while Twitter’s direct messaging had risen by 50 percent. Airlines, it seems, are encouraged to promote problem resolution via private messaging, thereby avoiding all that the public nature of social media entails.

So, direct communication via Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM and SMS may be a better option for planners who want their questions answered swiftly and efficiently, rather than having another problem to add to the list. It’s something to keep in mind for when you next need to vent your woes.