Flying habits are set to change drastically for the long-term, with 83% of passengers not expecting to return to their previous travel routines once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
This is just one of the key findings from a new global passenger survey commissioned by Inmarsat. The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ claims to be the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. It reflects the views and attitudes of 9,500 respondents from 12 countries across the globe about the future of flying.
While the majority of passengers (60%) feel satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the challenges of COVID-19, the survey reveals areas of opportunity for airlines to encourage passengers back to the skies.
It found 41% of passengers expect to travel less by any means and 31% plan to fly less. Despite this change, there are early signs that travellers are beginning to feel confident about flying again; almost half (47%) of passengers surveyed expect to feel ready to fly within the next six months.
Passengers are currently more fearful of catching the virus abroad than on the plane. In fact, many think they are at a greater health risk in other environments, such as the gym and public transport.
While passengers largely feel confident at passport control, security and communicating with cabin crew, they are less comfortable visiting the toilet inflight, and being in close proximity with others. The study indicates that solutions that minimise touchpoints and reduce interactions would go furthest in addressing pain points – such as contactless payments inflight and staggered security queues.
Digital solutions are fast-becoming essential to an enjoyable inflight experience, with 39% agreeing that onboard WiFi matters more today than ever before. Destination status alerts, real-time luggage tracking and pre-clearing immigration on the plane are among the top new aspects of the journey passengers want to keep post-pandemic.