Qantas is the most-blogged airline by online Australians, with more than one third of consumer discussion online around airlines focusing on it according analysis by online measurement company Nielsen Online released today.

The analysis looked at consumer-generated media (CGM) relating to the top airline carriers in the Australian market.

The data revealed that online discussion relating to Qantas was more than double that of any other carrier, followed by Virgin with a 17% share of chat and Jetstar which accounted for 15% (see Chart 1).

Looking at the most discussed topics online relating to airline travel, airline crew drew the most comments, particularly for Air New Zealand, whose in-flight team was discussed more than any other airlines’. Maintenance was also a hot CGM topic, with Qantas the most talked about airline in terms of maintenance – 4.1% of online discussion around Qantas was on the topic of maintenance.

Singapore Airlines also generated much discussion around maintenance (2.4% of online discussion).

In the area of customer service, Virgin topped the list with 2.2% of online discussion around its brand attributed to customer service, while Jetstar had around 1.9% of online discussion focused on customer service.

Online sentiment pointed to a lingering fear amongst travellers as a result of recent airline incidents.

In particular, concerns around Qantas following two mid air incidents in 2008 generated a spike in online discussion, which carried on well into 2009, with consumers attributing the incidents to outsourcing of maintenance.

Nielsen BuzzMetrics found that Emirates received the most positive discussion online – 19% of consumer sentiment relating to the airline was positive, with consumers touting service, in-flight staff, check-in and in-flight meals as the most satisfying aspects of their experiences. However, the volume of discussion relating to Emirates was one of the lowest of the airlines analysed. Similarly, although

Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand had relatively low volumes of online discussion, the percentage of positive discussion making up that volume saw them ranked second and third respectively behind Emirates for online sentiment.

Bloggers have rank Emirates best in the air, followed by Singapore
Airlines and Air NZ. Recent airline incidents raising travellers’
concerns around air safety.

Verbatim comments sourced by Nielsen BuzzMetrics:

“On an entertainment point of view emirates and singapore airlines generally offer better in seat entertain than qantas as they allow more movies starting at any time etc.”, 27/08/2008

“Having done 4 long haul flights in the last 7 months Emirates are outstanding-from online check in till receivng baggage at end they were faultless-could teach BA/QANTAS a lot of things…”, 17/06/2008

“We travel extensively internationally and domesticly – Jetstar is now our last choice for flights as they are very unreliable, we are also unlikely to use qantas again as they slipping – inflight service on international runs are very poor.”, 14/12/2008

“No one has ever said every Qantas flight is a disaster. Only that they appear to be having way too many serious issues.” aus.aviation, 01/12/2008

“I decided long ago never to fly with Qantas again due to their rude & unhelpful staff.”, 21/11/2008

“But, that said, if I was on a plane like that Qantas one that had the major problems recently (where quite a lot of passengers got injured etc), I think I would find it very hard to get back on a plane again.”, 06/11/2008

“So as far as Virgin as a carrier in general I think theyre great – good rates and great customer service (from my experience).”, 26/6/2008