As passenger experience industry leaders gather for the APEX/IFSA EXPO, global communications giant Viasat has unveiled its most recent Aviation Passenger Experience Survey findings. The report reveals the in-flight Wi-Fi preferences and priorities of over 11,000 air travelers from around the world.
Passengers thronged airports in near-record numbers this summer. With the return of travel, the value of this yearly survey has never been more pronounced. It serves as a touchstone for the aviation industry to understand what consumers value most as they return to the skies post-pandemic.
Key Takeaways from the Viasat PaxEx Survey:
- Wi-Fi Reigns Supreme: A striking 83% of travelers are more inclined to choose an airline that provides quality Wi-Fi. Connectivity takes precedence in the onboard experience, as 81% of respondents voiced its importance.
- Surge in Demand for Complimentary Wi-Fi: Ticket price aside, complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi has emerged as the deciding factor for 22% of passengers when selecting an airline. This beats other amenities like free refreshments (18%), legroom (13%), and onboard entertainment (9%). Furthermore, 50% and 82% of passengers believe Wi-Fi should be complimentary on short-haul and long-haul flights, respectively.
- Staying Connected High in the Sky: Missing out on real-time events while flying? Not anymore. A significant portion (81%) of sports enthusiasts are willing to pay extra for live sports broadcasts in the air. The FIFA World Cup tops the charts at 45%, followed by the Olympics (28%) and the NBA (25%).
- Quality Wi-Fi enables meaningful connections in-flight. 47% of passengers want unlimited social media access in the skies, while 1 in 5 want to game (22%), demonstrating the desire to be connected and not to miss out on life on the ground.
The overarching theme of this year’s survey is crystal clear. Beyond just offering basic in-flight Wi-Fi, airlines must strive to surpass passenger expectations by presenting irresistible online experiences like live sports and TV shows.
Diving deeper into the data, Viasat’s detailed report sheds light on intriguing patterns. For instance, 50% of passengers hesitate to use in-flight Wi-Fi if there’s a charge. In the US, passenger demand for free Wi-Fi has risen by 50% since 2022. In emerging markets, India and Brazil, these numbers are 42% and 35%, respectively.
An opportunity for Freemium Wi-Fi?
The survey also highlights the lengths passengers will go to in order to enjoy reliable online connectivity. Astoundingly, 89% would make compromises, with 42% open to viewing advertisements and 33% willing to forgo loyalty rewards.
Commenting on the survey, Jimmy Dodd, SVP and President, Global Enterprise & Mobility at Viasat, emphasized the rapid digital transformation among travelers. “These findings give us a fascinating insight into the minds of passengers at a critical time for the aviation sector. It is encouraging to see passenger numbers close to pre-COVID levels. The 2023 Passenger Experience Survey shows how quickly travelers have adopted digital nativism, including expectations for free, fast Wi-Fi and edge-of-your-seat experiences, like Live TV and Live Sport at 30,000 feet.”
Viasat is a frontrunner in global communications, dedicated to bridging connections worldwide. On May 30, 2023, the firm marked a significant milestone by acquiring Inmarsat, blending the strengths of both entities to carve a new chapter in global communication. Viasat is present at the 2023 APEX/IFSA Global EXPO in Long Beach, CA. Meet their representatives in Booth 1209.
About Viasat’s 2023 Passenger Experience Survey
Research for this report was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Viasat in July 2023. The researchers surveyed a statistically representative sample of 11,053 respondents, all of whom had flown within the last year. This was made up of 2,002 respondents in the UK, 2,504 respondents in the US, 500 respondents in Brazil, 1,255 respondents in Germany, 1,263 respondents in Turkey, 502 respondents in South Korea, 500 respondents in Singapore, 500 respondents in the UAE, 1,527 respondents in India, and 500 respondents in Hong Kong.
You can download the full report here.