LONDON – As the world continues to put the Covid-19 pandemic behind it, and kick on prioritising dealing with either the humiliation and breakdown of a government, or navigating the invasion of neighbouring countries. Irrespective of this, the world is starting to get back to normal levels of air travel.
Alongside increasing passenger numbers, the confidence of those flying again is improving. A leading satellite service provider, Inmarsat has been conducting a world-wide survey over the last twelve months. This time last year, a mere ten percent of travellers had confidence in flying. Whereas if you fast forward to today, over eight in ten people that were surveyed reported they are confident flying.
Those countries leading the charge with the highest confidence include Brazil and Saudi Arabia, both harvesting results of 90% confidence. The country propping up the table is South Korea, with only a 53% rate of return on passenger confidence. The United Kingdom came in at 81%.
During the data gathering, Inmarsat went delving into what contributed to passengers ‘best possible flying experience’. Given their background in satellite communications services, I’m sure they will have been hoping to garner some information specific to their sector.
In Flight Connectivity
Unsurprisingly, given the prevalence of handheld and carry-able communication devices, 97% of people surveyed use their device whilst flying.
Niels Steenstrup, President of Inmarsat Aviation said: “It’s fantastic to see so many travellers confident in taking to the skies again following the pandemic, and is testament to the airline industry’s focus in getting air travel back on track so quickly. The fact that the overwhelming majority of passengers now use their own devices onboard – and so many feel Wi-Fi is important to them when flying – presents an unmissable opportunity for airlines.”
To help increase the usability of these devices in the air, 77% say that onboard WI-FI is important to them. This, a 22% rise in 4 years compared to the results of a 2018 survey. Middle Eastern passengers appear to be those stipulating that in flight WI-FI is most important to them. 94% of Saudi Arabian and 92% from the UAE passengers reported this is important to them.
Over 80% of travellers said that they would look to rebook with an airline that offered on board WI-FI. Business travellers and parents of children under 18 being those that have the greatest requirement for it.
Inmarsat’s data shows that 79% of people utilise on board WI-FI when it is available. Whether it be for work, entertainment or the entertainment of children. After all, what good is the connectivity if you don’t have the means to charge the device you are connecting?
Funding the Connections
As the requirement for in flight connectivity increases, the question of how much do people want it? 47% of people surveyed said that having to pay for WI-FI would discourage them from connecting. However, 38% of passengers would watch adverts if it was a requirement for using it.
“Not only can inflight connectivity help airlines attract new customers and keep existing ones happy, but it also opens the door to new revenue generation opportunities for airlines to support the industry’s ongoing recovery. We’ve been tracking the desire for inflight connectivity for years and can see it shows no signs of slowing down. Reliable Wi-Fi is undoubtedly fundamental to an excellent passenger experience. Giving passengers the flying experience they want and focusing on providing quality Wi-Fi for those who want to work or play while onboard, will be the gift that keeps on giving for passengers and for airlines.” continued Steenstrup.
Social media and entertainment top the list for reasons why people long for this type of reliable connectivity whilst in flight. 83% of people that responded think that WI-FI should be free on long haul flights, whereas less than half of people think the same for short haul routes.