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Middle East Airlines

Analysis
MARCH MAY 2017
Executive summary 01 MAR-31 MAY 2017

Over a 3 month period BrandsEye tracked over 536 158 mentions on four Middle East Airlines: Qatar, Emirates, Etihad and Saudia (Saudi Airline)
in order to gauge their overall performance of the airlines based on sentiment and to unpack the factors driving the sentiment.

Global conversation Among the top three airlines in the study (Qatar, Emirates and Etihad) conversation was dominated by foreign travellers with the
United States and the United Kingdom, the two biggest contributors, accounting for a third of all conversations about the airlines.

Drivers of positive sentiment - In general, positive sentiment was driven by factors linked to high quality travel experience. These included airports lounge
experience ,smooth check in process, luggage tracking systems, comfortable inflight seating, high quality business & first class, food quality, good
connectivity, entertainment choices cost. Affordability was also a very popular topic especially when comparing airlines to other locations.

Effective crisis management, value of a strong brand On 5 June, political sanctions were imposed on Qatar, these sanctions had a major impact on the
airline and its passengers resulting in an immediate drop in positive sentiment. Despite the inconvenience caused by the sanctions within 48 hours of
implementing processes to deal with the crisis, daily sentiment began recovering.

Repeat purchases - The outcome of the research showed that consumers decision to make a purchase with a specific airline is closely linked to their
previous flight experience. These factors include the airport lounge, ground staff, check in process and inflight experience, these are generally the same
factors that drive positive conversation and sentiment in general.

People like to share bad news Consumers dont always talk about their positive experience but the moment something goes wrong people share news
and the more topical it is, the faster it spreads. This was seen in the research where negative posts often attracted more engagement, examples included
consumers calling for a boycott of Saudia due to the DinaAli kidnap case.

Brand comparison The majority of people flying with the main Middle Eastern Airlines are foreign and have had experience travelling with other airlines.
Due to this they often compare the experience of flying with Middle East airlines against their own local carriers. This is common with US and UK
passengers, with their local airlines generally being talked about in a negative light. This was done following the United Airlines incident.

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Sentiment over time per brand MAR - MAY 2017

Negative Positive

51.8%
47.2%
45.0%

41.0% 41.3% 37.6% 37.8%


38.0%
33.4%
30.1%
28.6%
25.1%
21.7%
21.0%
17.2% 15.3% 16.3%
14.6% 14.2%
12.8% 13.4%
10.9%
8.2%
6.8%

March April May March April May March April May March April May

Emirates Airlines Qatar Airlines Saudi Airlines Etihad Airways

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Overall conversation per week MAR - MAY 2017

60,000
Emirates Qatar Saudi Etihad
An April fools joke by Emirates on
Facebook around launching triple
50,000
decker, the worlds largest commercial
aircraft generated a lot of positive
engagement. The post generated 19
40,000 282 comments and 10 194 reshares
as well as 591 replies on Twitter.

30,000

20,000

10,000

0
1 Mar 9 Mar 16 Mar 23 Mar 30 Mar 6 Apr 13 Apr 20 Apr 27 Apr 4 May 11 May 18 May 25 May 31 May
Weekly

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Volume of mentions MAR - MAY 2017

Emirates Airlines Qatar Airlines Saudi Arabian Airlines Etihad

121,423

62,980
58,971 59,230
54,335 51,970

29,954 31,841
28,821
19,781
16,910
10,845

March April May

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Volume per platform MAR - MAY 2017

Twitter Facebook

143,548

120,560

86,712

55,071

37,781

19,105
15,987

2,055

Emirates Airlines Qatar Airlines Saudi Arabian Airlines Etihad

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Net sentiment per month MAR - MAY 2017

Emirates Airlines Qatar Airlines Saudi Arabian Airlines Etihad


50%

39.0% 38.0%
40%

29.0%
30% 27.0%
23.0%
20.0%
20% 17% 17%

10%
3%
0%

-10%

-13.0%
-20%

-24.0%
-30%

-33.0%
-40%
March April May

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Customer Service MAR-MAY 2017
INFLIGHT AMENITIES
Free Wi-Fi and providing tablets and laptops, in response to the travel ban, generated the
Emirates majority of positive sentiment. A number of authors also commented on the brand saying it was
Airways
the best airline in the world. Negative conversations were limited with some passengers
complaining about the online entertainment systems not working.

Etihad Passengers shared their positive experiences onboard and posted pictures from their flights on social
Airlines media. Negative conversations were focused around the inflight staff with some passengers
complaining about insensitive crew and the staffs inability to deal with sick and disabled people.

Qatar
Airways The overall inflight experience of Qatar airlines was praised. Passengers liked sharing pictures of their
travel experiences onboard highlighting the quality of flying with the airline.

Sentiment was mixed for inflight amenities with a lot of negative sentiment due to issues such as
Saudi planes not having screens , consumers also complained over insufficient free data offered and the
Arabian fact that iPads were given on direct flights to the US and not laptops which were harder to work on.
Airlines

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Customer Service MAR-MAY 2017
STAFF
Emirates Passengers gave positive feedback about their experiences with the cabin crew, stating that
Airways their great service made their flights enjoyable. Negative sentiment driven by away from the
plane. It was highlighted that there were not enough staff on desks and that there was poor
service through the call center when dealing with queries .

Etihad The conversations in this topic were split, passengers either praised the crew for going the
Airlines extra mile or described them as rude , unhelpful and insensitive specially with elderly
passengers and passengers with medical conditions. There were also complaints around
ground staff and customer service staff in general.

Qatar Friendly cabin crew were praised, a number of passengers shared pictures and stories of their
Airways
positive experiences with the airline and the inflight team. Negative issues included passengers
stating that staff away from the plane needed more training, especially in chaotic situations such
as flights being cancelled not enough staff to deal with the issue.

There were not big volumes of conversation on this topic. One passenger posted on the airlines
Saudi official website a post to thank the proactivity of a staff member who made a booking for him and
Arabian
paid from her own pocket to cover the ticket after realizing his visa card didnt have sufficient
Airlines
funds . There was also an incident of staff involved in a fight with a passenger who found out that
his business class seat was overbooked.

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Elements of the Flight Experience MAR-MAY 2017
AESTHETICS
Emirates Most positive mentions were made up of passengers sharing pictures of plane interiors,
Airways planes taking off and the luxuries provided during flights.

Etihad About 90% of the total conversations was positive, consumers spoke mostly about the
Airlines A380 airbus and their experience on board and posted pictures of their flights showing
the luxurious cabin .There were some isolated comments around not enough legroom on
long distance flights which created some negative sentiment.

Qatar There were a number of positive posts around the airlines business class with passengers
Airways sharing pictures. Pictures of plane fleets along with planes taking off were also shared. A few
negative mentions around leg-room and amenity kits were posted but almost all
conversation around the aesthetics was positive.

Some passengers posted pictures of the plane, its interiors and talked about it in a positive
Saudi
Arabian
way, this was mainly linked to a new plane in the fleet. There were more negative mentions
Airlines on the topic with most passengers complaining over lack of maintenance in airplanes,
posting pictures of things like broken seats.

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Customer Service MAR-MAY 2017
TURN AROUND TIME
The bulk of mentions were negative; consumers complained about not receiving updates on
Emirates
problems or responses to complaints. Despite general negativity there were a few examples of
Airways
people praising the brand sentiment for efficient customer care and quick response times on
certain queries

Etihad
Airlines 96% of the conversations were negative . Passengers complained about the airline being slow to
respond to queries around locating lost luggage and refunding cancelled flights.

Qatar Problems were highlighted around calling customer service with long waiting periods on the
Airways phone, slow response times via email, lack of clear complaints procedure, lack of responses to
complaints. There were also complaints around luggage not being delivered.

Saudi
Arabian Issues around processing refunds effectively, lack of communication regarding lost luggage and
Airlines lack of feedback on complaints lodged generated a lot of negative sentiment.

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Corporate MAR-MAY 2017
ETHICS
Emirates Most mentions were negative; a number of these related to poor service from staff. Other issues
Airways
raised included accusations of discrimination towards disabled passengers. Further negative
sentiment was driven by Baahubali producer @Shobu calling Emirates staff racist, stating that his
team was harassed in the Dubai airport.

Etihad Positive sentiment was largely driven by a post in April after a passenger posted a tweet about a
Airlines pilot turning around the plane for an elderly couple to say goodbye to their dying grandson.
Passengers also praised the airline for their Ramadan initiative. Negative conversations were
focused attitude of staff and the were unethical nature of the airline for receiving subsidies from
government.
Qatar
Airways

Accusations of the airline oppressing human rights, supervisors being dishonest, poor treatment of
passengers and breaking the law resulted in negative sentiment.

Saudi
Arabian Instances of the #BoycottSaudiAirlines related to the incident of women being allegedly kidnapped
Airlines and enslaved after flying with the airline caused outrage both from passengers and the broader
community.

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Customer Service MAR-MAY 2017
AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
Frustration around flights being cancelled and being stuck in airport terminals, issues around
Emirates baggage limits, long waiting periods to check-in, flights being cancelled and long queues resulted in
Airways negative sentiment. Positive conversation consisted of passengers praising the airline for their
great experiences flying; this included friendly staff, pleasant flight experience and facilities
provided.

Etihad Positive sentiment was linked to the airlines effective check in process , the relaxation room at
Airlines Etihad first class lounge and SPA . Negative conversation was linked to rude and unhelpful ground
staff at the check in counters ,there were also complaints that Etihad lounges were not always
open to receive passengers and that no communication was received by the passengers when
their flights were delayed, with no hotel offered for delayed flights for passengers on transit.
Qatar
Airways Positive conversation was built around the business lounges and the excellent services provided
here. Lengthy check-in times, missed flights with no assistance and delayed flights without
considering the elderly and young generated negative sentiment. Instances of long queues at
transfer desks and unhelpful staff also added to negative sentiment.
Saudi Instances of passengers being stuck in airports caused unhappiness. Complaints were voiced over
Arabian lost baggage, missed/delayed flights and poor service around these experiences.
Airlines

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Customer Service MAR-MAY 2017
LUGGAGE
Emirates Most mentions related to luggage going missing and not being found; instances of passengers stating
Airways that they were told their luggage would arrive on a certain day and this did not occur. There was
frustration around the new laptop check-in rule as passengers stated their laptops were damaged in
transit. Some passengers thanked the brand for their help in updating them on delayed and lost luggage.

Almost all conversations around luggage were negative to the brand and were mostly around
Etihad lost/delayed luggage and the lack of communication regarding tracking and/or compensation.
Airlines Passengers also complained about the new suitcase policy which no longer allows musical
instruments to be taken into the cabin. There were a few positive conversations about Etihad finding
lost luggage and notifying customers via emails about the electronic ban, these were however
isolated.
Qatar
Airways Complaints around lack of compensation for lost luggage, items being stolen from luggage, luggage not
being delivered as promised and lack of communication around these issues. Positive mentions were
built around Qatars Track My Bags mobile app and the positive service from this.

Saudi Passengers complained about their luggage being damaged, seals being tampered with and items
Arabian being stolen. There were a few instances of good service/praise towards the brand for handling lost
Airlines luggage incidents. Conversation volumes were generally low around this topic.

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Customer Service MAR-MAY 2017
IN FLIGHT SERVICE
Positive sentiment was driven by great onboard service and friendly cabin crew who were very attentive.
Emirates
Returning customers praised the airline for consistent pleasant flight experience. Negative sentiment was
Airways
driven by issues with food from some passengers such meals being not being fresh, there were also
some complaints of staff being rude and unhelpful, this was mainly from Arabic passengers.

Etihad The majority of conversations were marked as positive, from international passengers who spoke
Airlines mainly in English, they expressed their happiness with the flat bed and private window in business
class, the food on the airline ,comfort of the chairs and top class inflight services. Negative sentiment
was linked to food and how it was not served early enough on long distance flights. Some passengers
also complained that the airline was not good for passengers with special needs.
Qatar Mentions about the pleasant experience, flight service and the friendly cabin crew from both first
Airways time and returning Qatar customers made up a large portion of the conversation. Passengers
also highlighted the excellent business class experience and the memorable quality experiences
shared with the airline in general. There was also positivity to do with the great food.

Negative sentiment from consumers focused on flight service in the air and on land, entertainment
Saudi not functioning and complaints about bad cabin conditions in general.
Arabian
Airlines

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Purchase Decision MAR-MAY 2017
AFFORDABILITY & PRICING
Emirates
Consumers communicated that they felt Emirates was an affordable airline which had
Airways
revolutionized air travel. Some consumers were happy about the various data promotions offered
and reacted positively towards the signing of the East Coast Group. Complaints were posted
around passengers being forced to pay for the airlines changes to ticket times and dates, as well
as paying extra for more convenient seating.
Etihad
Airlines Positive conversations were driven by special offers on certain destinations .Negative
conversations came from passengers complaining over online booking for charging them twice
due to system errors and some passengers had to purchase their tickets twice. Complaints were
also made about paying too much for extra weight and extra luggage.
Qatar .
Airways
There was a lot of positive sentiment towards the airline for their summer deals. There were a few
isolated complaints around pricing, for example, how ticket discounts sometime ending up being
more expensive.

Saudi
Arabian
Airlines There were complaints around the processing of tickets by the airline with the consumer having
to pay for the airlines mistakes.

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Purchase Decision MAR-MAY 2017
SPECIAL OFFERS / PROMOTIONS
Emirates
Airways
There were positive engagements with posts promoting airline tickets via competitions,
discounted packages and various flight deals. Positive mentions also stemmed from the hotel
stay with connecting Emirates flights and the Emirates fair deals.

Etihad
Most of the conversations were positive as people engaged with special offers and
Airlines
competitions , the extra 20% luggage allowance as well as the flights on sale drove positive
sentiment. Negative conversations were minimal with some passengers complaining that the
online system which did not allow them to redeem their Etihad miles.

Qatar
Airways Positive mentions about the airlines various coupon deals, the student flight offers and the
discounted travel packages. Customers were pleased with the savings on ticket purchases and
promotion deals linked to competitions and online challenges.

Saudi
Arabian There was minimal conversations regarding the topic with most sentiment being negative.
Airlines Consumers complained that the special offers not being real and that there no special offers
for international flights..

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Purchase Decision MAR-MAY 2017
PRODUCT/BRAND COMPARISON
Most positive mentions compared Emirates to US airlines and British Airways, with service and general inflight
Emirates experience highlighted as key differentiators. There were mentions in support of the brand against the electronic
Airways ban, praising the proactive response of Emirates of limiting the inconvenience of the ban on their passengers. There
were some negative conversations comparing Emirates to other brands with consumers complaining about poor
service. Some consumers also posted about the unethical nature of receiving support from government.

Etihad Over half of the conversations were positive towards Etihad with consumers comparing the brand to US airlines
and British Airways as well as the GCC airlines, service and inflight experience mentioned. Negative mentions
Airlines
formed approximately a third of the total conversations with Arab consumers in particular not in favour of Etihad
,they preferred flying with other local carriers such as Emirates. Etihad was also accused of receiving funds from
the government which was seen as unethical.

Qatar The majority of the total conversations were positive with consumers preferring Qatar Airways to both local and
Airways international airlines with inflight service, food quality seen as superior. Consumers also praised Qatar Airlines
response to the electronic ban and their offering of free WiFi and a free laptop on board while other airlines
offered iPads. The airlines was also accused of receiving funds from the government, which was seen as
unethical.
Around a quarter of the total conversations on the topic were positive, with consumers posting pictures of a
Saudi new born baby and comparing how United Airlines dealt with the passenger who was forcibly removed.
Arabian However, most of the conversation was negative due to the alleged kidnapping case of Dina Ali. Local
Airlines consumers also communicated that they preferred travelling with Nesma Airlines, a Saudi local carrier
because service was superior.

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Topics MAR-MAY 2017
CONTRIBUTION TO THE OVERALL CONVERSATION
Inflight amenities 10%

Aesthetics 10%

Ethics 10%

Staff 9%

Turn around time 8%

Airport Experience 8%

In flight service 7%

Product/Brand 8%

Luggage 6%

Affordability & Pricing 5%

Special offers / Promotions 5%

*Note that the topic listed above provides an indication of the main topics impacting the airline industry
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Sentiment MAR-MAY 2017
AIRLINE COMPARISON

MAIN TOPICS POSITIVE NEGATIVE


Emirates Qatar Saudi Etihad Emirates Qatar Saudi Etihad
Inflight amenities 79.0% 92.4% 34.0% 83.8% 19.9% 6.7% 64.9% 12.4%

Aesthetics 85.5% 90.9% 61.4% 89.5% 8.8% 4.7% 38.6% 5.4%

Ethics 13.8% 9.4% 0.5% 35.7% 85.2% 89.9% 97.1% 63.8%

Staff 40.8% 59.5% 12.1% 50.0% 59.2% 39.7% 81.9% 49.5%

Product / Brand 65.7% 60.1% 24.5% 55.5% 27.3% 30.4% 69.1% 35.85

Airport Experience 30.2% 53.6% 13.8% 40.6% 69.8% 46.4% 80.5% 58.1%

In-flight service 58.6% 73.6% 13.8% 58.2% 40.9% 25.6% 81.3% 40.4%

Turn around time 5.7% 10.9% 7.0% 4.3% 94.3% 89.1% 92.0% 95.7%

Luggage 17.4% 21.0% 13.2% 7.9% 81.9% 78.1% 76.5% 90.1%

Affordability & Pricing 32.7% 71.9% 12.0% 51.6% 65.5% 28.1% 86.7% 47.3%

Special offers / Promotions 71.1% 94.4% 21.6% 77.0% 28.9% 5.6% 78.4% 12.0%
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

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Etihad Airways overview MAR-MAY 2017

BRAND MENTIONS PLATFORMS SENTIMENT


78 705 42% 53%

UNIQUE AUTHORS
41 661 30%
27%
31%
ADVERTISING VALUE EQUIVALENT
$ 37 605 626
16%
O.T.S. GENERATED
2 174 560 084

Facebook Instagram Twitter Positive Negative Neutral

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Sentiment analysis MAR 2017

ETIHAD AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
16 911 685 474 320
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
There were some isolated complaints over 53% #electronicban was mentioned 478 times, and
inflight staff being rude and that staff dont #MakeFlyingGreatAgain a proactive reaction to
speak English on international flights. the electronic ban The airline also offered free
Service was mentioned 1 232 times in Wi-Fi , iPad and laptop and a new handling
connection with customer service and to
service for direct flights to the US. Consumers
describe poor services received inflight,
engaged positively with this post and retweeted
ineffective response to dealing with delayed 25% 253 times.
flights , call center and lost luggage. Passengers 22%
also complained over delayed flights and rude The word great was used 683 times to describe
ground staff . flying ,flight experience , food quality and the
proactive airline reaction towards the electronic
ban.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis APRIL 2017

ETIHAD AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
29 955 684 562 817
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
Customer service was the main driver of negative A tweet by modeling star Halima Aden
sentiment , consumers used the word customer 50% @Kinglimma was posted to thank the airline for a
service in 251 mentions , in connection to delayed tour in Abu Dhabi, the post generated 585
flights , poor response to complaints, handling of positive mentions.
queries, lost luggage and overbooked flights.
Consumers expressed their love for flying on the
There were 183 direct negative mentions 33%
A380 and spoke about their positive
regarding lost luggage, passengers complained
experiences.
that the airline did not keep track of luggage and
that their response to luggage issues was poor. Consumers used the words great in 843
Passengers complained over the online booking 16% mentions and love in 733 mentions when they
process. Issues included seats being given away spoke about Etihad in relation to their flying
after booking had been confirmed (due to experience. Positive comments were linked to
overbooked flights) , not being able to choose inflight staff , food, class and the Abu Dhabi
seats or change seats and having to wait to board stopover. Comparisons were also made with the
even after checking in online. experience of flying with Etihad compared to
NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE
United Airlines.
Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis MAY 2017

ETIHAD AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
31 841 776 829 481
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
The online services continue to generate negative 56% Football and cricket brand sponsorships generated
sentiment with consumers complaining that their the most positive mentions.
queries were not attended to and dealt with The special service offered by the airline for
effectively. passengers observing the holy month of Ramadan
Mentions linked to lost luggage and the poor on air and on ground , generated positive sentiment
response time to the issue generated 210 in May. The airlines initiative involved inviting 9
30%
mentions. students from The Future Rehabilitation Centre to
Other complaints were linked to luggage, lost the training facility in Abu Dhabi as part of the Year
items and theft from bags. of Giving, this was viewed 19 803 times on
Instagram with people engaging positively with the
14% post.
Passengers shared their experience of travelling
business class , business class generated 168 direct
positive mentions.
NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Examples of mentions MAR-MAY 2017
ETIHAD AIRWAYS

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ETIHAD MAR-MAY 2017

NEGATIVE SENTIMENT POSITIVE SENTIMENT


16% 31%
Etihad was the third most spoken about Airline in the Middle East, with 78 705 mentions and also the third most popular based on
social sentiment behind Qatar and Emirates.

Based on positive sentiment over the 3 month period the airline averaged 31% for positive sentiment, compared with Qatar at 44%
and Emirates at 39% with Saudi in last position at 15% . In terms of negative sentiment, the airline was tied with Emirates at 16%, the
joint second lowest average negative sentiment for the period, 7% behind leaders Qatar. Generally positive sentiment remained
constant, while negative sentiment fluctuated slightly.

Positive: Online authors generally praised the airline for the high quality inflight experience which included comfort, food and
entertainment as well as travelling classes, the airline also received positive sentiment in March for their handling of the electronic
ban. Positive sentiment was also generated on the back of the airlines sponsorship of cricket and football teams.

Negative: Luggage was a constant issue throughout the three month period, with complaints linked to tampering of bags and theft as
well as the airlines inability to track luggage. There were a number of negative mentions pertaining to customer service and the
Etihad call centre as well as rude ground staff which had a negative impact on the passengers experience. There were also some
isolated complaints around the inability of the staff to speak English effectively on international flights. Of all the airlines in the study
Arabic consumers were the most negative towards the airline with service delivery a major talking point.

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Emirates Airlines MAR - MAY 2017

OVERALL SUMMARY
BRAND MENTIONS PLATFORMS SENTIMENT
243 400
45%
59%
UNIQUE AUTHORS 39%

157 014
ADVERTISING VALUE EQUIVALENT 36%

$ 38 976 218
16%

O.T.S. GENERATED
2 264 059 610
4%
1%

Facebook Instagram Twitter Other Positive Negative Neutral

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Sentiment analysis MARCH 2017

EMIRATES AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
62 938 626 236 958
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
Luggage and baggage handing generated A380 was mentioned 7 760 times referring to the 3
negative sentiment towards the airline. The airbus introduced in their fleet to different
words delay and delayed were mentioned with destination, consumers expressed their love of the
passengers complaining about delayed flights
41% new modern features, big screens in economy
39%
and the lack of communication from the staff to class, first class suite and business class seats.
update them on the flights status, this also Consumers expressed their love for airline and
resulted in negative sentiment towards the inflight experience
airline. The launch of A380 to three new destinations in
#laptpban and #electronicban generated some 21% three different continents created positive
isolated negative sentiment. mentions.
Passengers reacted positively to the way that
Emirates celebrated women working at the airlines
and specially female pilots in anticipation of
women's day.
NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions


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Sentiment analysis APRIL 2017

EMIRATES AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
120 753 817 726 490
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
A complaints by @Shobu regarding rude staff at Fly the friendly skies for real was repeated 10
the boarding gate generated 656 negative posts. 134 times in support of Emirates and in
Complaints by passenger @suhelsheth about an response to the United Airlines incident of
overbooked flight and arrogant staff attitude 42% 41% dragging a passenger out of their aircraft.
generated 250 negative posts. The words triple-decker was mentioned 9 910
Former international English cricket player KP times in association with an April fools posted
posted a negative post complaining about the by Emirates , some consumers believed that
cost of data on the plane, saying he paid $1 for such aircraft actually existed.
500MB which wont even be enough to load his 17% Emirates responded to Oscar Munoz, President
Instagram account, people retweeted and and C.E.O of United Airlines, by posting a video
engaged with his post 526 times. on the company YouTube account which got 2
millions views and 36 425 likes.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis MAY 2017

EMIRATES AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
58 375 816 887 716
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
Complaints were made over slow response The word love repeated 1 031 times to
51%
times and general handling of complaints. expressed consumers positive feelings towards
A passenger complained that Emirates made a the airline.
mistake with the fair they paid for tickets so 38% Passengers shared their positive experience
they had to purchase new tickets at a higher with the airline highlighting good food quality ,
price despite it being an airlines mistake. comfortable seats , friendly staff and great
The airlines decision that their crew remove
inflight entertainment channels.
the Taiwanese flag from their waistcoat and
Emirates in relation to its sponsoring of the FA
replace it with the Chinses flag also generated
Cup final generated 705 positive mentions.
negative conversation. 11%
A post announcing Emirates sponsoring club
Atletico Boca Juniors also generated 706
positive mentions.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Examples of mentions MAR-MAY 2017
EMIRATES AIRWAYS

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Emirates MAR-MAY 2017

NEGATIVE SENTIMENT POSITIVE SENTIMENT


16% 39%
Emirates was the most talked about airline and the second most popular based on sentiment between Qatar, Emirates and Saudi
Airlines. The airline received over 240k mentions from 1 March 31 May, almost 85k more than Qatar and 180k more than Saudi.

Based on positive sentiment over the 3 month period the airline averaged 39% for positive sentiment against 16% negative, the same
amount of negative sentiment as Etihad. Generally positive sentiment did not shift much and remained constant, while negative
sentiment fluctuated slightly.

Positive: Consumers generally praised the airline for being world class and were complimentary about the brand and the actual
plane sharing pictures of its interiors and the luxuries provided during flights. Passengers also praised the airline for its great
onboard service and the friendly cabin crew who were very attentive. The airline was seen as a high quality airline that passengers
liked to be associated with.

Negative: Much of the negativity was focused on turn around time with consumers complaining about not receiving updates on
issues raised and not receiving feedback/responses when complaints were logged. A number of complaints were also made around
the issue of lost luggage and how the airline handled it.

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Qatar Airlines MAR - MAY 2017

OVERALL SUMMARY
BRAND MENTIONS PLATFORMS SENTIMENT
165 265 73.9%
47.0%
44.0%
UNIQUE AUTHORS
94 924
ADVERTISING VALUE EQUIVALENT
$ 153 950 934
O.T.S. GENERATED 16.6%
8 953 515 529 9.0%
9.0%

0.4%

Facebook Instagram Twitter Other Positive Negative Neutral

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Sentiment analysis MARCH 2017

QATAR AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
51 798 3 623 514 805
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
The word flight appeared 342 times in negative
52% A post by the airline announcing it launching
conversations. Consumers also used the word the Qsuite a luxurious business class cabin
disappointed 125 times to complain about generated 10 553 positive mentions.
poor customer service, delays of flights, slow Passengers expressed their love to fly with
replies on online complaints and lost luggage. 36% Qatar and their intention to fly again with
#boarding was retweeted 115 times to report
them.
electricity outrage which happened before
Passenger's praised Qatars inflight
boarding of a Qatar flight in March.
Online authors demanded the removal of the
entertainment system which has over 3 000
channels to chose from.
airline advert on Breitbart news network, which 13%
has been associated with racism.
The electronic ban order generated negative
sentiment as passengers were concerned about
the safety of their devices and being unable to
work on their laptop during the trip.
NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis APRIL 2017

QATAR AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
58 412 2 778 965 306
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
A tweet from a passenger complained over being 54% A post by Dublin Airport to win 2 return tickets
homophobically treated by a airline staff member to Australia or New Zealand in partnership with
resulted in a number of posts around the Qatar Airways generated 8 123 positive
incident which also led to more comments the mentions.
following month.
38% Consumers reacted positively to an article by
The word Customer was mentioned 274 times Al Watan news site that Qatar Airways was
in reference to bad services consumers received planning to buy shares in Lufthansa.
inflight, on ground and online booking. The Airways launching double bed service in
The word experience was mentioned 136 times business class, a world first, generated 467
and was associated with negative sentiment over positive mentions.
delayed flights , lost luggage and poor handling of Expanding their travel network to Mombasa
issues.
8% ,Accra and Abidjan also generated positive
The word ticket was mentioned in a negative way mentions from consumers.
82 times referring to system errors while booking
online or being charged incorrectly.
NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis MAY 2017

QATAR AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
50 886 2 481 158 011
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
A tweet by @fivezero_ca resulted in 116 negative The airline renewing their partnership with AlAhli
mentions , after an advert of the airline showed up Saudi club generated 5 473 positive mentions,
The Rebel, a Canadian alt-right website, which has
48% showcasing the value of sports sponsorship.
45%
racist undertones. A free stopover offer from the airline for
Passengers continued to complain over customer passengers in transit in partnership with Qatar
service and delayed flights as well as lost luggage. Tourism Authority generated positive sentiment
#boycottQatarAirways was posted by the LGBT towards the airline.
community and generated some negative Their were 1 296 positive mentions related to
sentiment towards the airline, the community business class experience with consumers
demanded the boycotting of the airline due to expressing their satisfaction while booking in this
harsh law against gay people in the State of Qatar. class.
This was also on the back of treatment of a gay 7%
passenger the previous month.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Example mentions MAR- MAY 2017

QATAR AIRWAYS

The Opinion Mining Company.


Qatar Airways overview MAR-MAY 2017

NEGATIVE SENTIMENT POSITIVE SENTIMENT


9% 44%
During the research period (1 March 31 May) Qatar Airways came out as the top airline, both in term of positive sentiment 44%,
against the next best airline Emirates at 39%. Qatar also has the least negative conversation relative to their volume at 9%, 7% better
than Emirates and Etihad and 31% less negative that Saudi who was highest at 40%.

Positive: Passengers praised the airline for the quality experience, flight service and the friendly cabin crew. Positive mentions
highlighted the excellent business class experience and the memorable quality experiences shared with the airline in general. There
was also positivity around the quality of the food served. Positive mentions about the airlines various coupon deals, the student flight
offers and the discounted travel packages. Luggage is generally a very negative topic across all airlines with passengers only
discussing it when something goes wrong, Qatar however did garner some positive sentiment for their Track My Bags mobile app.

The findings back up the recent study published by Skytrax which voted Qatar Airways the best airline for 2017.

Negative: Relative to the positive mentions the volume of negative posts were far less, there were however some issues raised
around luggage with complaints around lack of compensation, items being stolen, luggage not being delivered as promised and lack
of communication around these issues. Some passengers also highlighted issues around customer service which included waiting on
phone for an extended period, slow response times via email and the lack of clear complaints procedure.

The Opinion Mining Company.


Saudi Arabian Airlines overview MAR-MAY 2017

OVERALL SUMMARY
BRAND MENTIONS PLATFORMS SENTIMENT
59 445 92% 45%

UNIQUE AUTHORS 40%

32 480
ADVERTISING VALUE EQUIVALENT
$ 44 007 945
15%
O.T.S. GENERATED
2 558 609 123
4% 4%

Facebook Instagram Twitter Positive Negative Neutral

The Opinion Mining Company.


Sentiment analysis MAR 2017

SAUDI AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
10 473 712 463 803
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
Complaints were made about overbooked 56% Launching the new online app to help
flights in business class where the staff were customers to manage their flights
also involved in a fight with the passenger. Passengers on direct flights to the US praised
Complaints were made over poor inflight the airline for the new service of handling and
entertainment, bad customer service and bubble rapping personal laptops and how they
issues with lost luggage. had received them on arrival, they also thanked
29%
The electronic ban raised concerns over the the airlines for notifying them about the
safety of personnel electronic devices as electronic ban and the general handling of the
passengers were not allowed to carry it on 15% issue.
board in direct flights to the US.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis APRIL 2017

SAUDI AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
19 777 879 323 457
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
The alleged kidnapping and violation of human Launching new flight destinations to Sudan and
rights resulted in over 2000 negative mentions Pakistan.
49%
which included #savedinaali, Dedicating a special boarding counter for the
#boycottsaudiairlines, family issues, boycott etc. Saudi military personal drove positive
38%
There were a number of complaints over sentiment.
continuous delays. The initiative of princess Noura University in
Long queues for travelers and poor conditions at cooperation with Saudi Arabian Airlines to
Jedda Airport generated a lot of negative spread the culture of travelling among young
sentiment. children also contributed to positive
General complaints were linked to rude staff, poor 13% engagement towards the airline.
inflight meals and the quality of the inflight
entertainment.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE


Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions
The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment analysis MAY 2017

SAUDI AIRWAYS
MONTHLY VOLUME OTS
28 819 950 359 666
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
The main negative sentiment was driven by a .A post by a passenger to thank a staff member in
post from a passenger and it was retweeted customer services for being proactive in paying
5 166 times @Fayez_malki who complained over 47% from her own pocket after she found out that the
unjustified delays of flights and
38% passenger didnt have enough funds in his visa
miscommunication from the airlines to inform card. This post was retweeted 233 times.
the passengers of flight status. A post by Abu Dhabi sports council to welcome
A video posted by @galshael a disabled girl on Ittihad club team who was visiting Abu Dhabi,
wheel chair complained about not letting her generated 573 positive mentions.
board with her wheelchair , people retweeted the Announcement by the airlines for the first time,
post 3 464 times. 15%
sending 30 females with bachelors degrees
abroad to flying schools for pilot training also
contributed to positive sentiment.

NEGATIVE NEUTRAL POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions The Opinion Mining Company.
Examples of mentions MAR-MAY 2017
SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES

The Opinion Mining Company.


Saudi Airways overview MAR-MAY 2017

NEGATIVE SENTIMENT POSITIVE SENTIMENT


40% 15%
Saudi Airways was the worst performing airline from the study, with positive sentiment at 15%, 29% less than the industry lead at
44%. It was also the worst performing airline in terms of negative sentiment, at 40%, 31% more than Qatar Airways and 24% more
than Emirates and Etihad.

Positive: There was mixed sentiment around the actual plane, with some passengers reacting positively around its aesthetics, but in
general there was minimal conversation around this. In March passengers on direct flights to the US praised the airline for the new
service of handling and bubble rapping personal laptops as well as managing the process effectively, passengers also thanked the
airline for notifying them about the electronic ban. Launching new destinations to Sudan and Pakistan also generated some positive
sentiment towards the airline as did the opening of a specific check-in deck for military personnel.

Negative: Much of the negativity was focused on the poor customer flight service. Complaints were made around the poor
entertainment availability and how it was not always working. There were also complaints around the general poor cabin conditions.
Further complaints were made over lost baggage, missed/delayed flights and poor service around these experiences in general. A lot
of negativity was also linked to an incident of women being allegedly kidnapped and enslaved after flying with the airline,
#BoycottSaudiAirlines, as well as a disabled girl who was not able to board a flight with her wheelchair. Additional complaints were
made about the quality of the ground staff.

Most of conversation on the airline was made by locals (people from Saudi), which differed from the other airlines where most
comments were from foreigners and travelers across the Middle East. Almost all of the conversation on social media around the
airline was from Twitter.
The Opinion Mining Company.
CASE STUDY

Qatar Crisis
HOW DID THE QATAR POLITICAL CRISIS
IMPACT THE AIRLINE
Daily sentiment analysis 01 JUN-30 JUN 2017

QATAR POLITICAL CRISIS


80%

70%

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Positive Negative Positive (excl. award conversation)

Jun 2017
The Opinion Mining Company.
Daily volumes 01 JUN-30 JUN 2017

QATAR POLITICAL CRISIS


12000

10000

8000

6000

4000

2000

0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
June
The Opinion Mining Company.
Weekly sentiment 01 JUN -30 JUN 2017
QATAR POLITICAL CRISIS
60.00%

50.00%

40.00%

30.00%

20.00%

10.00%

0.00%
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5
Negative Positive

The Opinion Mining Company.


Monthly sentiment 01 MAR-30 JUN 2017

QATAR POLITICAL CRISIS


60.00%

50.00%

40.00%

30.00%

20.00%

10.00%

0.00%
01-31 March 01-30 April 01- 31 May 01-30June
Negative Positive

The Opinion Mining Company.


Sentiment analysis 1 JUN-30 JUN 2017

MONTHLY VOLUME OTS


112 074 3 812 090 472
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
Refunds were the biggest driver of negative The airlines decision to give 100% refunds to
sentiment, with many customers attempting to passengers affected by flight cancellations and to find
alternate routes where necessary drove positive
reach the customer service department to cancel NEUTRAL sentiment. Refunds were first commented on online
their bookings and request a refund. In the approximately 10 days after the crisis began.
aftermath of the crisis, call center and online
service operators failed to attend to demands Compliments around inflight services and friendly staff
52% on board continued.
within 48-72 hours. The refund process was also
delayed, a big driver of negative sentiment. Consumers praised the way that the airline managed
the crisis, praising its flexibility to make crucial
34% decisions in tough times. This included the way the call
Many consumers who received refunds for flights
cancelled due to the crisis complained that the centre dealt with the crisis once the airline started
responding.
airline charged them penalties.
13% A competition was launched after the sanctions were
FC Barcelona and FC AlAhli cancelled their announced to win free tickets. This generated over
sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways. Both the UAE 1 000 positive mentions.
and Saudi banned the Barcelona shirt as it has the
A tweet by the airline in response to the Qatar crisis,
Qatar Airways logo on it. We believe there should be no boarders in the skies
only horizons, generated over 1 000 retweets.

NEGATIVE POSITIVE
The Opinion Mining Company.
Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions
Sentiment analysis 01 JUN-30 JUN 2017

MONTHLY VOLUME OTS


112 074 3 812 090 472
NEGATIVE POSITIVE
Winning the Airline of the Year 2017 (20
Customer service-related queries were June) from Skytrax, generated over 2 000
responsible for a large amount negative
NEUTRAL
positive mentions.
sentiment (over 900 mentions in June).
52%
This was mainly due to slow responses to A tweet by the Empire State Building in
queries around cancelled flights and NYC to celebrate 10 years of Qatar
refunds; some cases had a turnaround 34% Airlines flying to the US generated 1 598
time of 2 weeks. positive mentions.

Consumers complained over system Consumers who received refunds for


errors when requesting refunds and 13%
cancelled flights posted positive
submitting online queries. The official mentions thanking the airlines.
website and offices were banned in Saudi
Arabia and UAE, making it difficult to Due to a strike by British Airways, BA
contact the airline, causing frustration and chartered a flights using Qatar planes,
driving negative sentiment. generating a lot of positive sentiment.
NEGATIVE POSITIVE

Sentiment based on statistically relevant sample excluding brand mentions


The Opinion Mining Company.
Examples of mentions 1 -13 JUN 2017

QATAR CRISIS

Negative: Complaint over paying penalties after submitting for full refund for a cancelled flight.
Positive 1:Compliment for rebooking a cancelled flight in 10 min phone call.
Positive 2:Compliment for great crisis management and offering alternative options for affected flights The Opinion Mining Company.
Qatar brand success story MAR-JUNE 2017
OVERCOMING CRISIS
Despite having to deal with three crisis situations (March June), during the research period, Qatar Airways was consistently the best performing airline
in terms of both positive and negative sentiment. The ability of the brand to overcome bad news brought on by various external factors showcased the
strength and resilience of the airline. From the research it seems when it comes to making airline choices, if a brand can provide affordable travel, high
quality passenger experience and most importantly deliver on a brand promise, then even a global political crisis will generally only have short term
implications on its sentiment and general popularity.

3 crisis issues during the four month analysis


Travel ban (19 Feb) - Ban imposed by the US on six Muslim majority nations.
Electronic device ban (20 Mar) - Ban imposed on direct flights to the US originating from Middle East, ban lifted in June / July.
Sanctions imposed on Qatar (5 June) - Five countries including the UAE and Saudi cut political ties with Qatar.

IMPACT OF THE POLITICAL BAN


Following the sanctions imposed on Qatar Airways, the airline saw an immediate drop in daily positive sentiment, falling from 36% on 4 June to 4% on 5
June. Negative sentiment reached an all-time high on the 6th of June at 33%, but quickly reversed once the airline implemented measures to deal with the
crisis. Overall in the month of June despite the sanctions, negative sentiment increased to 13%, from the three month average of 9%, with positive
dropping during the same time period from 44% to 34%, still overwhelmingly positive.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT
In response to the sanctions, Saudi and the UAE closed their airspace and shut Qatar Airways offices in Riyadh and Dubai; flights to and from Doha from
4 countries were also cancelled. This drove negative sentiment, which was initially very high, with the airline slow to respond to queries around refunds
and general travel arrangements. On the 6th of June the airline started to communicate to passengers affected by the crisis, directing them to visit the
official website to get more information about refunds and the rebooking process. Negative sentiment was limited due to the effective refund process
brought in, the rerouting of flights (8 June) using airspace over Iran, Iraq and Turkey and the use of planes from Oman Airways to transport passengers
who were stuck in Dubai and Riyadh. These initiatives along with various others used to manage the crisis saw the airline regain most of its lost sentiment
within a couple of weeks of the incident.
The Opinion Mining Company.
The Opinion Mining Company.
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