If you have strong opinions on what works and what doesn’t work in air travel, this is the best time of the year for you.
IATA has launched its 2016 Global Passenger Survey (GPS ’cause we love our acronyms, plus double-meaning).
It asks the flying public to share their preferences on products and experiences, and to rate the performance of the industry against expectations.
Last year, nearly 7,300 flyers put in their two cents and the results from their findings have informed enough industry White Papers to circle the world twice, and enough click-bait-worthy links to form a silver chain which reaches all the way to the moon..and back.
I totally made up those last two stats.
But IATA’s GPS is invaluable to the industry because it does NOT just grab stats out of a hat or out from the clouds.
Instead, in partnership with PwC, IATA asks tough questions, gets honest answers, numbers the numbers, and reports back to the industry. That’s why airlines and their suppliers take the results very seriously.
Here are some things we learned from last year’s IATA GPS, just to get your creative juices flowing.
- Most of the travellers who felt motivated to contribute to IATA GPS last year were men (66%), leaving 34% women.
So, ladies, get with the program and start commenting because we need to catch up!
- The contributors were about evenly distributed between the ages of 25-34 years (25%), 35-44 years (24%), 45-54 years (22%) and 55+ Boomers 22%.
Lots of Millennials and GenXers (hi!).
- GenZ is not that worried about the quality of air travel just yet, (7%) but that might change as they get older.
Some have said that–as long as there’s free Wi-Fi–GenZ will fly standing up. That’s not even legal, so don’t worry. Won’t happen. But there WILL be more Wi-Fi by then, and some of it WILL be free.
We learned from the 2015 IATA GPS that the factors driving passengers view of airline brands (for better or worse) are:
- On-time performance (75%)
- Aircraft quality and interior (66%)
- And customer interaction (54%)
We also learned that passengers want to know what’s happening at all points of the journey. (Makes sense, right?)
Proactive Notification (that is flight related notifications and alerts of things like security and immigration waiting times) were most important during the journey phases of pre-booking to pre-travel and Connectivity (Wi-Fi) at the airport and onboard was the predominant desire from there on.
- Surprisingly, more than 50% said their favorite form of prior notification was by SMS. So..mobile and text still rule in a smartphone world.
The top 3 concerns passengers have, for which they want PROACTIVE notification are:
- 93% Flight status
- 74% Baggage status and delivery waiting time at baggage claim
- 68% information on regulations which might affect their journey such as visa, customs and health (vaccination) requirements.
Passengers really worry about what IATA charmingly refers to as TLC (Tender Luggage Care)
- 48% said they prefer to tag, scan and drop-off their bags themselves rather than having an agent do this.
But they’re only willing to do so if it can be done in 3 minutes or less!
- 81% want to track their bags at any point in the journey.
Speaking of impatient: waiting in line at security for longer than 10 minutes is no longer acceptable.
Cheering for my homies over here in Europe, but my heart goes out to just about everyone in the U.S.
NO BODY wants to carry paper. Well, most people don’t.
- 69% said they’ve switched over to electronic mobile passes, but we keep killing innocent trees for the remaining individuals who feel a bit insecure (and those who want to have it both ways).
- 90% of passengers surveyed for 2015 wanted to be checked-in at home and know their seat before they leave for the airport.
- 68% want their travel documents to be validated from home
- 48% have also used automated border control kiosks
- 89% said they’re happy with automated immigration gates.
- 34% want their bags tagged at check-in kiosks and similar facilities (baggage drop and electric bag tags, anyone?).
In terms of airport Wi-Fi, the big turn-on for passengers was that 80% of their home airports have Free Wi-Fi (Go Billund! Go CPH!)
The big turn-offs were that 42% require some form of cumbersome registration (Again, GO BLL and CPH who DON’T. YAY for DK!)
Survey participants said the top factors influencing their ticket purchases were:
- Price (43%)
- Schedule and convenience (21%)
- and only 13% cited the airline’s Frequent Flyer Program (Have something to say on this coming up.)
We like ancillary services.
- 48% of travellers bought ancillary products or services from 2014 to 2015
The top three spends were: checked bags/excess luggage, preferred seating and some onboard FAB (that’s nibbles, drinks and tipple).
7 out of 10 passengers said they’d like to buy that FAB direct from their IFE (in-flight entertainment setback system). Virgin America and Norwegian have long offered this.
Flyers are just like kids, in many ways. The top 3 things passengers like to do in-flight are:
- 72% watch films and TV
- 70% sleep!
- 42% eat! (and drink)
- 51% read a story!
- 44% watch films or TV
- 36% eat! (and drink)
So, what are your air travel turn-ons? What makes you rush to buy a ticket with a competitor next time around? Do you book tickets based on the convenience of connecting airports?
I want to know!
So does IATA.
Give them a few minutes of your time before they crunch the numbers and report this year’s results.
They’re looking for about 5,000 good flyers from 140 countries around the globe, but they’d welcome a larger sample size.
The deadline is August 15! Here’s where you get to have your say.
Oh, and did I mention that if you participate you get a chance to win Amazon vouchers? (Bribery, woo-hoo!)
You get extra chances to win if you share the survey with friends and followers on social media.