With 90 per cent of air passengers considering onboard Wi-Fi a necessity, inflight connectivity continues to be a top priority for airlines besides simplifying the signing up process, according to a recent survey, which finds that Indians are the most excited to travel by air again in the APAC region.
Indian airline passengers are the most confident about flying again in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, reveals Inmarsat’s 2022 Passenger Experience Survey, which polled 4,000 people across the region who have travelled by air in the past 12 months. Three quarters of APAC airline passengers feel confident flying again, a significant rise from just 6 per cent last year, according to the survey. On a country-by-country basis, India topped the list (88 per cent), followed by Australia and Singapore (79 per cent), and South Korea (53 per cent).
Inflight connectivity remains a major factor in influencing the decision of APAC passengers to select an airline. More than four-fifths (83 per cent) more likely to rebook with an airline if quality inflight Wi-Fi was available, extending the increase from 78 per cent in the previous year. This factor is particularly compelling for passengers in India, with more than 9 in 10 (92 per cent) saying they are motivated to do so. It highlighted that 90 per cent of travellers from India feel it is important to stay connected during a flight, compared to the APAC average of 74 per cent. Also, travellers from India are the most willing to pay more for their tickets if it meant reliable inflight connectivity, with 44 per cent happy to do so compared to an APAC average of 29 per cent.
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 per cent – mostly for administrative tasks and entertainment. In addition, 78 per cent have connected to inflight broadband when available on a flight, more than double the percentage from the previous year (38 per cent). 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. About 36 per cent of respondents say they will be willing to view advertisements and 32 per cent claim they will even give up alcoholic drinks inflight if it means having access to quality and consistent connectivity. In fact, close to one in three (29 per cent) 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 per cent of Indian travellers indicated they would pay more to access exclusive inflight entertainment content while flying (compared to the APAC average of 32 per cent). In addition, Indian travellers would pay more for both unlimited downloads (34 per cent) and social media usage (33 per cent).