The survey also reflected the growing acceptance of airline travel as a preferred mode of travel in India due to the growth of the sector with increased options in the form of airlines, routes and benefits. 50 per cent of the respondents preferred air-travel versus other forms of transport. 99 per cent of the respondents to the survey also expressed a willingness to take a long-haul flight in the next two years. Business class travel also saw a rise with 44 per cent of the respondents travelling business class in the past two years.
The respondents also shared a ‘wishlist’ of services and amenities that they would like to see in mid to long-haul flights in the future. Free and fast internet access and increased seat comfort ranked the highest in the wishlist. A significantly higher percentage of business and first class travelers expressed a need for child care on board and an area for network generation, compared to economy and premium economy travelers.
Sharing his views on the survey and its outcomes, Ozer Guler, General Manager, Northern & Eastern India, Turkish Airlines Inc. said, “The Indian civil aviation sector is on an undeniable growth trajectory. Favorable government policies, economic growth, an upwardly mobile middle-class and competitive air fares have given a rise to a willingness for people to adopt air travel as a preferred mode of transport in India. As such, their expectations and demands for services and ameneities have significantly evolved. The Turkish Airlines Aviation Trends Survey 2017 gives us a glimpse into this changing landscape and allows us to better address our customers demands and needs.”
Key Findings of the Survey
· Good safety record (98 per cent) and the good reputation of an airline are given paramount importance while booking a mid or long haul flight. Good services on board in economy class, flexibility on luggage allowance and option of checking in at least one piece of luggage at no extra cost are especially important for passengers who have children.
· Own experience (71 per cent), close acquaintances and travel/comparison portals are the top three sources to trust for an airline recommendation. An easy to use website of an airline, travel bloggers/specialized online travel magazines, active digital sources of an airline, easy to use mobile application of an airline, advertising of the airline and reports on TV/radio were of a higher importance among business and first class travelers. All inclusive fares are an additional consideration factor for a majority of the respondents (74 per cent) as well.
· Long queues at the Check-in counter (75 per cent) and crowded waiting areas were the major pain-points for respondents. Insufficient information about possible delays also continues to be an issue for passengers.
· Online check-in via mobile apps/smartphones and automatic check-in service are the top two expectations of travelers regarding the check-in process. Business and first class passengers have higher expectations for automatic check-in services and early check-in opportunities.
· Cleanliness of cabin/lavatory (97 per cent), quality of food & beverages (96 per cent) and friendly/attentive/accessible staff (96 per cent) are passengers’ prior expectations regarding a mid or long-haul flight.
· Mobile phone calls and inflight connectivity ranked high on the preference list of respondents (73 per cent), with a majority expressing an interest in using the services only if charges were slightly higher than normal usage tariffs.
· The majority of passengers wish presence of healthy food and the opportunity to drink water at any time during the flight. Also, choice of several menu options, multi-course menu and special food and drinks for children are other expectations of travelers from catering services on board.
· For a majority of passengers (97 per cent), healthy food options were a key factor for them to choose an airline. Also, choice of several menu options, multi-course menu and special food and drinks for children are other expectations of travelers from catering services on board.
· Key among the expectation for pre-landing services are information about customs regulations (96 per cent), information about the expected waiting period for entry (94 per cent) and advice about travel options (92 per cent).
· Access to an arrival lounge (96 per cent) and a information desk in the baggage reclaim hall in case of lost luggage (96 per cent) are the two most important services on the ground for Indian travelers.
· Satisfaction with airline services in difficult situations such as damaged luggage (66 per cent), lost luggage (64 per cent), delayed flights (58 per cent) and cancelled flights (55 per cent) were key consideration factors in airline choice.
· Satisfaction with other services such as cabin lighting, cabin temperature, catering quality, in-flight entertainment, comfortable seating etc. are ancialliary deciding factors for passengers when considering an airline.
The online survey, conducted in partnership with Nielsen, reached out to a respondent pool comprised of individuals aged 18 years or older who have used flights as a mode of travel in the last two years and was conducted between 16 to 26 February, 2018.