Inmarsat’s latest survey of 4,000 APAC airline passengers finds respondents from India are most excited to travel by air, with confidence levels soaring over last year
Indian airline passengers are the most confident in Asia Pacific (APAC) about flying again, according to Inmarsat’s 2022 Passenger Experience Survey, which polled 4,000 people across the region who have travelled by air in the past 12 months.
The findings highlight a renewed confidence in air travel as travel restrictions continue to ease. Three quarters of APAC airline passengers feel confident flying again, a significant rise from just 6% last year. On a country-by-country basis, India topped the list (88%), followed by Australia and Singapore (79%), and South Korea (53%).
As appetite for travel rebuilds, airlines are now enhancing efforts to create the best possible flying experience. Inflight connectivity remains a leading factor that influences which airline is selected by APAC passengers, with more than four-fifths (83%) more likely to rebook with an airline if quality inflight Wi-Fi was available, extending the increase from 78% in the previous year. This factor is particularly compelling for passengers in India, with more than 9 in 10 (92%) saying they are motivated to do so.
The heightened desire to stay connected while traveling is also evident with 90% of travellers from India saying it is important to stay connected during a flight, compared to the APAC average of 74%. Among the APAC countries surveyed, travellers from India are the most willing to pay more for their tickets if it meant reliable inflight connectivity, with 44% happy to do so compared to an APAC average of 29%.
This greater zest for travel and increasing demand for connectivity presents an opportunity for airlines to create more meaningful and compelling digital experiences for travellers from India and beyond.
David Coiley, Asia Pacific Regional Vice President, Inmarsat Aviation, said “As millions return to the skies, our latest APAC passenger experience survey offers valuable insights into how the expectations and behaviours of passengers have evolved since the pandemic.
“Inflight connectivity is a prime example. Passenger demand for fast and reliable Wi-Fi has never been higher, so providing access to such services is absolutely essential for airlines. This also serves as the foundation to enhance the overall onboard experience through digitalisation, which our survey results indicate will not only be embraced by passengers, helping to drive their future brand loyalty, but also unlocks even greater revenue generation opportunities for airlines in India and across the Asia Pacific region. Passengers are even telling us they would go without an alcoholic drink or a seat to ensure they get good inflight Wi-Fi.”
The volume of APAC passengers who use digital devices inflight remains high at 96% – mostly for administrative tasks and entertainment. In addition, 78% have connected to inflight broadband when available on a flight, more than double the percentage from the previous year (38%). This demonstrates how passengers continue to value top-notch inflight connectivity, suggesting airlines should prioritise the availability of reliable Wi-Fi and simplify the signing up process for travellers to stay connected.
Travellers in APAC are also willing to trade for connectivity. 36% of respondents say they will be willing to view advertisements and 32% claim they will even give up alcoholic drinks inflight if it means having access to quality and consistent connectivity. Interestingly, close to one in three (29%) travellers from India say they would be willing to go as far as standing for the entire duration of the flight if it meant access to reliable Wi-Fi onboard – the highest in the region.
Watching downloaded movies or TV shows was the most popular onboard activity passengers would engage in while connected – a figure that is unsurprising, considering that 45% of Indian travellers indicated they would pay more to access exclusive inflight entertainment content while flying (compared to the APAC average of 32%). In addition, Indian travellers would pay more for both unlimited downloads (34%) and social media usage (33%).
Although results show APAC passengers are willing to pay for better or more connectivity-enabled experiences during their flights, cost remains the single most prohibitive factor across all markets. Three in four (75%) Indian passengers also believe that Wi-Fi should be free on long-haul flights, with fewer than half (46%) saying the same for short-haul flights.
Like their peers around the world, today’s post-pandemic travellers clearly value and even prioritise staying connected throughout their entire journey, including while in the air. As the demand for travel continue to recover and climb further, there are clear opportunities for airlines to tap into the demand for connectivity and offer passengers a richer inflight experience.