Reliable inflight Wi-Fi key to passenger satisfaction – Inmarsat

Inflight entertainment: personal electronic devices

Inmarsat’s latest Passenger Experience Survey shows passengers want to return to the skies, but integral to their satisfaction is quality and consistent inflight broadband.

The key takeaway is that passengers want to fly again. The confidence dented by the pandemic has returned in full force. In fact 2022 has witnessed an incredible bounce back in passenger confidence. Last year, only 10% of passengers claimed to be happy about flying. Today, 83% of the 11,000 passengers surveyed across the globe, said they were confident about taking to the skies.

Diehl

However, that doesn’t mean that airlines should sit back and smile as passengers return to their cabins. Far from it. Passenger expectations have been transformed from where they were pre-pandemic.

For instance, the results of Inmarsat’s survey demonstrate it says that a new breed of passenger has emerged in the wake of the changes brought about by the events of the last few years. This new passenger is a hybrid of business traveller and traditional leisure flyer. As shifting work patterns have allowed greater flexibility in working location, passengers are now more likely to travel more and carry on being productive.

Inflight Wi-Fi: The catalyst for passenger experience

Central to this returning passenger confidence is passenger experience. And central to passenger experience is inflight Wi-Fi. Another trend that was clearly in play before the pandemic, has only accelerated as digitalisation becomes ever-more pivotal to our daily lives.

Inmarsat says its survey bears this out. Since last year, there has been a 40% increase in those passengers who believe Wi-Fi is important to a positive flying experience. This represents a massive shift in expectations that has significant ramifications for airlines – it certainly represents a notable commercial opportunity. Not least because a massive 82% of respondents said they would rebook with an airline if they had a positive Wi-Fi experience while onboard.

Today, when brand loyalty is harder than ever to achieve, airlines will no doubt look at figures such as these with increasing interest. And if more proof was needed regarding the critical importance of inflight connectivity, 79% of those surveyed said they had connected to inflight broadband over the last 12 months when it was available.

The sustained importance of a seamless connected experience

The key insights don’t end there either. For airlines wanting to get a rounded understanding of their passengers’ mindset there’s much to glean.

Passengers have long wanted the same connected experience in the sky as they are used to on the ground. This resolve has only strengthened. They also want a seamless connected experience – 97% of flyers will now use their own personal device while in the sky. Again, this another trend that was in evidence pre-pandemic but has only accelerated and deepened in the interim.

They also demand a consistent and robust experience. They want to binge on the latest boxset, stream films or listen to their favourite music. They expect to keep connected with friends and family via messenger apps. A patchy or slow service will soon have them running to social media to air their grievances – and when a third of respondents admitted to experiencing a poor connection in the past year that’s not a great look.

A world of increasingly attractive commercial opportunities

Elsewhere there’s more to ensure airlines don’t rest on their collective laurels. Almost 95% of those surveyed believe more could be done to improve the experience. This covers things like speed of service, regular information updates, tempting extras (unlimited downloads? Passengers say yes. Battery charging points? It’s another big thumbs up) or just a hassle-free sign-up.

The cost of access is another sticking point. In short, more and more flyers expect Wi-Fi to be free at the point of access. There’s also some illuminating answers when it comes to watching adverts viz a viz a free Wi-Fi service.

Indeed, according to Niels Steenstrup, Inmarsat Aviation’s president, reliable Wi-Fi is a key cornerstone of passenger expectations when they fly – and this should be supported by a quality and consistent connection.

“Not only can inflight connectivity help airlines attract new customers and keep existing ones happy, but it also opens the door to new revenue generation opportunities for airlines to support the industry’s ongoing recovery,” he says.

And when looking over the findings of this year’s Passenger Experience Survey, Steenstrup notes: “Giving passengers the flying experience they want and focusing on providing quality Wi-Fi for those who want to work or play while onboard, will be the gift that keeps on giving for passengers and for airlines.”

Download the latest Passenger Experience Survey.

Sign In

Lost your password?