In this edition of APEX Survey Insights we take a closer look at overall passenger satisfaction, some of its contributing factors, and what areas of the passenger experience respondents would like to see improved.
Money Can Buy Happiness, In-flight
Given the choice between a free meal or a paid meal on-board your next flight, which option would you choose? The answer (free of course!) seems obvious however, insights from our Passenger Survey uncover an interesting trend: In-flight purchases, such as snacks, meals and alcoholic beverages appear to be driving higher customer satisfaction. Likewise, passengers who engaged in in-flight shopping or purchased in-flight entertainment or Wi-Fi access had passenger experience scores that were 3 to 5 percent higher than the overall average of 73 percent.
The results seem counter-intuitive given the dissatisfaction passengers have expressed with airlines moving away from all-inclusive fares, however findings from the J.D. Power & Associates 2014 North America Airline Satisfaction Study may explain the results. The study found that improved in-flight services over the past few years, such access to Wi-Fi, have contributed to higher customer satisfaction rates.
Airline Food Improving According to Passengers
Airline food, although not always positively reviewed by passengers and critics, can be included in the “improved in-flight services” category. When asked, 7 out of 10 passengers surveyed said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality and selection in-flight snack or meals.
But it does appear that age can affect your satisfaction levels with in-flight food. The survey found that passengers aged 55 and older were the least satisfied with in-flight food quality and selection. Moreover, the results differed by gender, with women showing more dissatisfaction with in-flight food compared to men.
Room for Improvement
So what do passengers want to see improved in-flight? The number one selection, “Upgrades in Passenger Seating and Fabric,” scored the highest at 38 percent followed by “Improved Passenger Connectivity.”
With the innovations we’ve seen in seating so far in 2014 and the increasing availability of Wi-Fi in-flight, it would appear that airlines and vendors are already on the right track to increasing passenger satisfaction!