BA comes top – twice

By | Category: Travel news

In two surveys designed to identify good customer satisfaction, British Airways has come out on top.

image of a British Airways plane

The service design consultancy, Engine, says that one of the reasons for it retaining the top spot in the airline sector for the second year in a row is because it has switched on-board catering so that passengers have to pay. In the other survey by Awario a social listening and analytics company which was much more comprehensive and wide ranging, BA had a substantial leader over the other 51 airlines in the analysis.

Engine declared that one reason for BA’s increase in customer satisfaction was the switch to food prepared by Marks & Spencer, and for which passengers had to pay.

What does that say about the standard of food available at no cost before the switch?

Following BA, Virgin Atlantic is in second place with Emirates in third and then – some would say surprisingly – a low cost airline, Jet2 in fourth place followed by another low cost company, easyJet in fifth and yet another, Ryanair in sixth.

Much more interesting than the Engine study is that by Awario which aseesses customer satisfc ation in a non-traditional way.

It adopts an approach which looks at the airlines over a longer period of time. It has looked at the number of mentions that each of the 52 airlines got on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube. It then calculated a net sentiment before assessing the reach that each airline managed. Finally it calculated reach based on the number of impressions received based on the number of followers that those mentioning it in social media had.

In all Awario had to consider 2,860,554 mentions to establish its rankings.

BA recorded an Awario overall score of 79.5 whereas the second place airline, American Airlines, could only manage 54.23.  Why such a strong performance?


It achieves more reach than other airlines and it also achieves a greater volume of social media. Its media reach is 9.97 billion. American manages just 4.72 billion. Only the low cost airline, Air Asia reaches more people.

BA also 229,310 social media mentions many more than other airlines but, and here is a key factor, it managed to garner a lot of positive rather than negative sentiment. We might have felt tempted to remember a plan filling with smoke and a massive fine for data breaches but this hasn’t put off passengers. What they find with BA, they – on the whole – like.

Breaking the data down into categories, Air India is considered the best low-cost airline, followed by Ryanair, Southwest and easyJet. For best customer service, Garuda Indonesia takes the top accolade which is something of a he achievement for the airline considering that forty years ago, it was an airline you tried to avoid. Not any more.

Cathay Pacific is judged to have the best staff and cabin crew. Air Asia has the best in-flight meals but like BA, you have to pay for the meals and maybe that is why it has won – meals you pay for seem to have more time and care spent on them giving a better taste and range than the traditional chicken or beef offering.

What Awario has shown us is that measuring customer satisfaction can be assessed in different ways as opposed to asking people at a single point in time. This is the first assessment they have made by examining social media. Whether the vast numbers it crunches will outweigh blips in a company’s performance, whether this might replace traditional methods of analysis will only become apparent in future years.   

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