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Three Ways Passenger Expectations are Changing the Flying Experience

Three Ways Passenger Expectations are Changing the Flying Experience

Passenger expectations are creating an ultracompetitive aviation landscape, making airlines scramble to provide the best in-flight experience that will lure passengers to their aircraft seats.

In the past, a low fare or brand familiarity could almost guarantee loyalty. Today, online ticket sales are keeping most fares competitive – making it easier for modern travelers to demand more before they choose a carrier. Here are three ways passenger expectations are setting a new standard for the experience they want in the air:

Customers are willing to pay for what they want. Research confirms what flyers want is a great customer experience, and 86 percent are willing to pay more for the services that are most meaningful for them. Businesses that are slow to adjust to those expectations face the prospect of customers leaving. That’s why a great customer experience ranks highly as a brand differentiator, and paying a premium isn’t seen as a deal breaker.

Customers want better Wi-Fi. Fewer and fewer travelers are willing to leave a great internet speed and quality connection behind when they take to the skies. In fact, 84 percent say it’s important to have an experience identical to what they enjoy at home or at the office. Airlines ignoring passengers’ expectations for Wi-Fi speed and convenience do so at their own risk. Our Honeywell survey indicates 68 percent of travelers book their flights based on Wi-Fi availability. And a whopping 90 percent told us it’s essential to experience a reliable, fast connection throughout their flight, no matter where they’re flying in the world.

Customers are willing to flip to other carriers. It’s true, passengers will leave their preferred airline if they can get the experience they want elsewhere. Since most board with a smartphone, tablet or laptop in hand, a key expectation is for a superior online connection in the air. Studies indicate 21 percent of travelers already have abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi. Another 45 percent say they would not remain loyal to their preferred airlines if they knew it didn’t provide the best Wi-Fi. The figures are particularly telling for the large, emerging market of millennial (born 1982-1998) travelers, with 89 percent considering a fast Wi-Fi connection critical to streaming content in-flight.

Airline passengers’ shifting expectations make brand loyalty tougher to capture. But those who get the customer experience right just may find their customers reward them in a big way through repeat business and by sharing the good news with others.

Kathryn Kearney
Content Marketing Specialist
Katie Kearney is the global content marketing specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.


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