Themes about corporate responsibility and community building resonated for travel brands on social media last week.

Each week, we call out travel brands that have stronger than usual activity on social media. Using SkiftIQ, we’re able to track current performance versus past (60-day averages, unless otherwise noted) as well as notice spikes in activity that demonstrate a brand either has a viral hit on its hands, or a public relations mess to clean up.

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The latest social activity on SkiftIQ for the week ending October 26, 2014:

1. JetBlue on YouTube

Gaining noteworthy subscribers on YouTube is a rare occasion. On October 29, JetBlue published a highly emotive three-minute video that is based on the idea of paying it forward through a plane ticket passed on from one person to another. “Fly It Forward — The First Stories” garnered close to 40,000 Views/Day totaling to over 300,000 Views and 6,241 Subscribers. Two days after the video was live, its Subscribers skyrocketed by 880%, closed the day with 98 Followers over its 10 Followers/Day Average.

2. Southwest Airlines on Instagram

Southwest’s Instagram community has grown out of posts about social good. Like JetBlue, Southwest Airlines is turning its free airline tickets into a vehicle to promote social good. Although Southwest didn’t have a YouTube video to announce its “Tickets for Time” program, which began in 2010, its Instagram Followers shot up by 345% on November 2, a 290-Follower increase over its 85 Followers/Day Average. The airline claimed that this Employee Volunteer program gave away more than 2,100 roundtrip tickets in 2013.

3. Air New Zealand on Instagram

75 winners of Air New Zealand’s Hobbit Fan Fellowship contest were flown to
“Middle-Earth” last week to explore and get an exclusive screening of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” before its December release. Selfies and regrams dominated its Instagram account. For four days, from October 28 to 31, it received an average of 112 Followers/Day, roughly a 72% daily increase from its 65 Follower/Day.

It’s Bilbo’s house! #HobbitFanContest #selfie

A photo posted by Air New Zealand (@airnz) on

4. Lonely Planet on Twitter  

Although Lonely Planet has been fond of Twitter chats, this time around, the travel media company used modified tweets of gold-toned photos content to grow the community. Lonely Planet attracted 20% more Followers on November 2, that’s 532 new followers above its 2,750 Follower/Day Average.

5. Virgin America on Twitter

San Francisco’s baseball team won the World Series and it was expected that its hometown airline Virgin America would make the top five winners for the week, but the airline’s gains were less than 20%. Although the airline posted photos that showed the passengers’ fandom, their in-flight game experience, and victory celebration, Twitter Followers only rose by 14.5%, a multi-day average of 666 Followers/Day on top of its 582 Followers/Day Average. Nonetheless, it’s still noteworthy social media activity.

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Photo Credit: Still from "Fly It Forward —The First Stories." JetBlue / YouTube