After last’s week story called Virgin America’s social networking nightmare, I thought it was time to balance things with a more positive story. You’ve read how Martinair are using Twitter in an intelligent way, so now it is time to give Virgin America a run. If you are interested, just click on the quote to read the full story.

Bowen Payson, was from the airline Virgin America that has been using Twitter to outreach to their customers. Bowen began his session by speaking about the differences in their airline from a physical experience. From the black leather Recaro seats, to the mood lighting. Their on-demand in flight entertainment is just as high tech as their communication strategy. The Twitter story began without a strategy and unfolded and matured into more than 60,000 followers as I write this. Their main social contact, Nick Schwartz is the voice of the airline and loves social networking, partially because of his age. They try to keep a consumer centric voice and mind set, and work to make the experience better incrementally.

 On a totally different topic, I saw this news from AA this morning:

American Airlines announced today it is now providing customers in Canada the option to use PayPal when booking tickets on the airline’s Web site, AA.com. American, which began accepting PayPal for AA.com bookings in the United States in 2008, is the first and only airline in the United States to accept PayPal as a form of payment internationally.

At first I thought surely AA is not the only US airline accepting PayPal, and then I saw the last word – internationally. There is now no question that AA has the best international websites, but I didn’t realize that other US airlines were only offering PayPal domestically. PayPal have really made a concerted effort to crack the airline payments markets, but the feedback I’ve received from various airlines is that they are interested in low cost options to credit cards and PayPal are not perceived to be competitive in that area. PayPal apparently push other benefits, but outside of the US, it is clear that with a few obvious exceptions, that message is having a hard time cutting through.

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