|by Sean O'Neill||Airlines, Airport Check-in, Helpful Websites, Innovations, Technology||39|
When it comes to customer service, Twitter and Facebook are the new 800-hotlines. These social networking sites are increasingly the place where passengers turn to gripe about shoddy service—and to seek solutions from airline customer service departments.
This year, the following airlines did an especially good job of using social media to help customers.
1) Delta Air Lines
Delta was one of the first airlines to embrace using Twitter to communicate with passengers. This year, it improved on this effort in two ways. The airline made a pledge to answer tweets within 10 minutes, and to resolve customer service problems within 24 hours, via @deltaassist. This month, the airline added a Spanish language version of the service @DeltaAssist_ES. Meanwhile on Facebook, Delta launched comprehensive customer support on the Delta Assist tab of the company's Facebook page. You can also book tickets through the page.
As we reported in February, JetBlue has begun letting users earn rewards program through Facebook. Customers look up JetBlue's fan page on Facebook and click on the "Go Places app." This free tool allows fliers to check in for flights using a smartphone, iPad, or other wireless device at JetBlue terminals across the country. Each time you do so, you'll earn 25 points in the airline's popular TrueBlue loyalty program. JetBlue also offers other deals via the Facebook app.
This year SAS became the first airline to change its route map based on social media feedback. It asked its 118,000 followers on Facebook to decide the 21st of its new summer routes. The Turkish town of Alanya became a new route from Oslo, Norway, after it won the most votes in a online poll.
4. Estonian Air
You may not have flown Estonian Air, but the company hopes its social media efforts will someday change that. In October, the company created a new type of rewards for users of its Facebook app, which could be redeemed for perks such as access to faster security lanes. Earning points is easy: just post a trip report on Facebook or use the company's Facebook fan page to book travel.
SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL