Today The Boston Globe (full disclosure I have shot countless assignments for the Boston Globe over the past 17 years) had an interesting article online entitled “Top 10 US Airports On Twitter.” The Boston Globe’s view of the top airports using Twitter is strictly based upon follower numbers, not actual interaction from the airport back to its passengers.
While I would agree with the Boston Globe that their #1 airport, Richmond Airport (RIC) is a top airport (more disclosure: I have the person who runs RIC’s Twitter account on my Facebook, his personal Twitter on my Twitter stream and I have publicly plotted to steal his coffee mug), I disagree with the rankings of most airports and see a number of excellent airports engaging in this form of direct passenger communication missing from the list.
So, ignoring the metrics of “followers” used by The Boston Globe to determine the top airports on Twitter I am going to use a different metric … a better metric … the metric of ‘customer interaction.’
So without further interruption … Flying With Fish’s Top 10 US Airports On Twitter
#1 – TIE – @Flack4RIC, Richmond Airport (RIC)- RIC
#1 – TIE – @CAKAirport, Akron-Canton Airport (CAK)
#2 – @HIAairport, Harrisburg Airport (MDT)
#3 – @KCIAirport, Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
#4 – @BostonLogan, Boston Logan Airport (BOS)
#5 – @CHOAirport, Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority (CHO)
#7 – @PortColumbusCMH, Port of Columbus International Airport (CMH)
#8 – @SanDiegoAirport, San Diego International Airport (SAN)
#9 – @MSPAirport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
#10 – @Atlanta_Airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
The problem with ranking the top airports using Twitter by follower counts is that larger airports will typically get more followers, such as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), without those airports ever having to engage their Twitter followers. BWI’s Twitter stream is consistent, but they never interact, they give status updates … where as smaller regional airports such as Harrisburg International Airport, actively engage passengers and the Twitter accounts of the airlines that serve the airport consistently on a daily basis.
An example of this is that the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta (ATL) is the last airport on my Top 10 list … and it barely takes that spot, while Akron-Canon Airport (CAK) in Ohio is tied for the #1 spot because despite being much smaller than ATL, their passengers regularly have complete conversations with CAK through Twitter, thus building loyalty for a passenger base that has options to choose other airports.
…oh and just a bit more disclosure … I have a “CAK” sticker on my iPad, a CHO luggage handle wrap on my backpack and my kids use HIA toothbrushes to brush their teeth.