I wasn’t happy when I recently embarked on a much anticipated Hawaiian vacation and saw what all my “points” had earned me and what passed as a “First Class” seat on my cross country US Airways flights.  You realize when you find yourself in a section without audio or video or even a footrest that the American airline industry is in desperate need of an extreme makeover.  Now it’s true: I did get a meal and my seat was certainly larger than those sitting in coach.

Nevertheless, I decided to let US Airways know how I felt. So as soon as I had access to WiFi (oh, did I mention that none of the flights was equipped with that either?!), I tweeted my displeasure at the airline.

The response was immediate.  I was impressed. 

US Airways was obviously paying attention to what was being said about the brand in the “twittersphere” and responding in real time.  That makes a difference to a customer.  The airline was apologetic about my dissatisfaction and after several back and forth messages, they said there were improvements on the way as a result of the merger with American Airlines and that I would be pleased by the changes.

That remains to be seen. What is important — and a lesson to any company that relies on its customers’ repeat business and cares about what is being said about it — is the continuous monitoring of the online community and the quick response.  By replying to my tweets, US Airways let me know that they cared about my opinion and tried to address my concerns. 
That said, I am not sure the overall experience makes me likely to rebook with US Airways the next time I am fortunate enough to travel to Hawaii.  When it comes to flying, the virtual can only take you so far.