The Regional Airline Association held its annual convention in Milwaukee this week. I have been to three RAA conventions over the years even though our company is not a member of RAA. The conventions I have attended were well run, and had good representation by all of the regional airlines in the US and regionals outside the US.
Of interest to me this year at RAA was a panel discussion during the Wednesday lunch hour with the topic “Flying Above the Social Media Fray” and an events description of the discussion “How does your company rate its Social Media Score Card? Hear the aviation experts discuss the hows and whys and answer your questions.”
Among the group of four moderators was Benet Wilson with Aviation Week, (http://twitter.com/AvWeekBenet - follow her on Twitter), who was also a moderator at last years NBAA Convention that I attended. Benet is the queen of social media in aviation and a true apostle of all things social in aviation. Benet is part of a small group of journalists and aviators who led the way for the rest of us to jump into the game. The impact of the social media forum at NBAA has continued to reverberate through the companies in attendance of that panel discussion.
It will be interesting to see if there will be follow on development of social media in the membership of RAA. Will the top management of the airlines allow and empower their employees to use social media?
Based on the little I see from the Regional Airlines in social media space, my guess is that many of the airlines have not gotten too far into the tools of social media to communicate to their market.
Through looking at some of the Tweets from the convention I did notice that ASA, a subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc, now has a blog site. http://www.flyasa.com/prod/blog/. That’s a good start. None of the other large regional airlines seem to have any social media presence at all? Am I missing something or someone?
Regional Airlines take a beating in the press and from their customers for many reasons, some may be legitimate and some not, including service and reliability issues. These companies are missing a great opportunity to humanize their image by allowing their people to come out front in social media and talk to the people they fly. Social media is about people dealing with people – not companies dealing with companies.
If the airlines would free their people to communicate through social media, relationships would be built, problems would get solved, and maybe even innovation would happen. The rest of the business world is starting to understand this. Maybe the airlines will figure this out? Right now it seems they are more in a slumber state than a waking up state when it comes to social media.