Air Travel News
Survey: Airlines could do more to meet flyers' mobile demands
A new survey of more than 2,600 air travelers finds that airlines and airports could do more to provide the kinds of data they want to see on the screens of their mobile devices.
The survey, commissioned by Boston-based Flightview, concluded that airlines’ data services aren’t keeping pace with the dramatic rise in travelers’ use of — and reliance on — smartphones, tablets and similar devices. “While mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous, users are not yet satisfied,” the survey concluded. “Airlines must improve the mobile experience that they provide to travelers by offering more mobile content and functionality.”
Among all types of travelers surveyed — the study broke them down into business travelers (those who travel regularly for business), frequent travelers (those who travel at least once a month) and leisure travelers — more than 81 percent said they use a smartphone while on the road. Some 36.8 percent now use tablets when they fly, the survey found, while 38.2 percent use personal computers in the air, and 20 percent use e-readers.
“Flightview expects tablet use to surpass the use of PCs by 2013,” the company predicted — although it noted that among business travelers, PC use is still preferred to tablets.
“Now that the market has matured, it’s no longer enough for airlines to simply have a mobile website and/or native app,” the company said. “Today’s travelers expect advanced functionality; their top priority is ensuring that timely information is pushed to them via mobile notifications.”
Specifically, the survey found that 93.6 percent of the travelers surveyed would like flight status information pushed to their device, while 73.2 percent want boarding alerts; 57.4 percent would like to see seat upgrade information; and 39.8 percent want information on standby status. The preference for having upgrade information pushed to their devices was 63 percent among the business traveler segment.
FlightView suggested that airlines “can also leverage mobile devices to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by eliminating the stress associated with connecting flights.” It said the survey found that 93 percent of respondents would like the departure status and departure gate information for their connecting flight pushed to their phone before their current flight lands; and 62 percent would like to see walking directions from their arrival gate to their connecting gate.
In addition, 67 percent of those surveyed said they would like to be able to rebook flights on their devices and to see mobile apps that display terminal maps and restaurants. More than one-third of the respondents want to be able to use their smartphones to purchase upgrades and to book ground transportation. And almost 30 percent would like to share their flight information through social media.
Only 31 percent of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the in-flight Wi-Fi service currently available. Most were dissatisfied because the service isn’t widely available; and on aircraft that do have it, “the service is too expensive, spotty and unreliable,” the company said.
The study suggested that airlines could increase their revenues by targeting the right products to mobile device users, noting that 35.7 percent want to be able to buy seat upgrades and 57.4 percent would like to see upgrade offers pushed to their phones.
“Also, the ability to purchase lounge passes, in-flight services, and duty-free goods via mobile makes spending money on those offerings easier and more appealing,” FlightView said. “Advanced mobile platforms that serve as a one-stop shop for travelers could also aid in building customer loyalty and retention.”