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The Best and Worst Airlines -- According to Twitter

United draws the most complaints in tweets.

Songquan Deng/ Shutterstock

For an airline, the only thing worse than an angry passenger is an angry passenger with a Twitter following.

Searching Twitter mentions for any major airline is like slogging through a virtual customer service line that extends out to the tarmac. It’s exhausting, and few people have anything nice to say. Luminoso, a text analysis startup, analyzed the social media mentions of five airlines during the month of August, one of the busiest travel months of the year.

The findings: Virgin America is a crowd favorite, while United Airlines is great at infuriating its passengers.

Luminoso used natural language processing technology to analyze more than 157,000 tweets directly mentioning the five airline handles, and the data revealed Virgin had the most positive responses among passengers, thanks in part to better customer service and fewer delays or cancellations.

United, on the other hand, had the lowest overall rating, taking last place in categories like “delays/cancellations” and “luggage.” Of the nine categories analyzed, United came in last or next to last in six.

Obviously, a number of airlines are missing from the study, but Luminoso made its selections “based on a combination of market share (Delta, United, American) and online customer sentiment (Virgin, JetBlue),” a spokesperson explained. In a separate study from Airfarewatchdog earlier this year, Delta claimed the title for the best airline; United, again, came in last. Here’s a taste of what airlines deal with regularly on social media.

This article originally appeared on

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