The Highs and Lows of Flying

How consumers talk about airplane travel on social

A few weeks ago, we analyzed the top summer destination hotspots of where people plan to travel this summer, including National Parks, Munich, Edinburgh, Vancouver, Tuscany, and Paris. But in order to get to these exotic places, most people must fly. And flying, of course, is a fraught topic all on its own.  
What are the major joys, fears, and frustrations of flying? We analyzed thousands of posts on Twitter, Forums, Tumblr, and Instagram over the past couple of years to understand consumer sentiment about airplane travel. We looked at people’s love/hate relationship with flying and surfaced the major drivers of these emotions.

The joy of flying?

Out of conversation classified as emotion, 46% of passengers talk about flying joyously but nearly just as many passengers discuss flying in a fearful or angry manner at 42%.

Diving deeper into these emotions, we see themes begin to emerge within each of the emotions. For passengers who enjoy flying, it is the views outside the plane window that excite so many. With prominent words and hashtags like sky, #clouds, and #sunset. The window seat of an airplane is the most coveted. Passengers snap pictures of oceans, mountains, deserts, and city views adorned with sunsets, sunrises, clouds, and city lights embodying the feeling of magic and inspiration — views from angles and heights that passengers would not be able to experience otherwise.

Bumpy skies

Of course, not everything about flying is so magical. Delays, cancellations, poor customer service, lost baggage, and luggage weight limits all contribute to anger and frustration when flying. Delays and cancellations, being some of the more prominent terms within the anger word cloud, make up 5% of anger discussion.

Anxiety, nerves, and poor weather conditions all contribute to passengers’ fear of flying. Concerns of turbulence and rocky landings and takeoffs heighten the stress and panic associated with flying. Some even resort to medications to help alleviate these nerves. Almost 10% of fear conversation includes mentions of people expressing their anxiousness and nervousness about flying.

The joys, frustrations, and fears of flying give us a glimpse into the passenger’s world of flight. But how do these passenger’s feel about some of the biggest airlines in the industry today? What drives a passenger to choose one airline over the other? Does this passenger sentiment about flying have any influence over airline preferences?

Stay tuned within the next month for answers to these questions and more when we release our airlines report analyzing five major brands within the US: American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines.

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