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Top U.S. Airlines: Whose Marketing Flies First-Class?

The U.S. airline industry, which reported a net profit of $15.5 billion in 2017, sits on a goldmine of customer data, and marketing experts debate whether carriers are putting that data to good use.

Despite editorials that declare that consumers care about price above all else when booking flights, research shows that 38% of American travelers are loyal to an airline based on how they’re treated.

The irony? They’re treated only as well as their miles earned. Every market favors its VIPs, but in aviation, loyalty reaches new heights.

When it comes to segmentation, the customer experience differs drastically between coach and business class—creating, according to The Atlantic, “elaborate hierarchies […] in nearly every step of the air-travel experience, from booking to baggage claim.”

But how do airlines treat their members in the first days after signing up for an account—before they know whether to label a user as premium or economy? We investigated this critical onboarding period in our User Engagement Teardown.

User Engagement Teardown: Top U.S. Airlines

In this User Engagement Teardown, we compared three of the largest airlines in the United States—Delta, Southwest, and Alaska—to give you an inside look into their customer engagement across email and mobile.

To conduct our research, we registered for an account on each site and increased our level of activity over the course of three weeks. We completed our profiles, downloaded their mobile apps, browsed flight deals and abandoned our carts.

After analyzing the content of all messages received, we identified what these businesses are doing well and what areas could use improvement.

Take a look at the teardown below to learn whose cross-channel marketing sits in first-class.

(Note: if you can’t see the embedded SlideShare, make sure to turn off any ad blockers!)

You can also see our past comparative teardowns (including Uber vs. Lyft and Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh) on our User Engagement Teardowns page.

Note: Delta, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines are not Iterable customers.

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