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Friday, 31 July, 2020, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

Frequent flyers ready to travel again within 3-6 months: Survey

The coronavirus pandemic has brought global travel to a halt, but nearly 3 in 4 frequent flyers (71%) are ready to return to travel either immediately or within the next 3-6 months, this according to a new survey from Collinson’s Priority Pass. The global survey also reveals that unpredictable factors such as quarantines and border controls represent travellers’ top concerns about returning to air travel – 74% identify this as a worry, and accordingly, half of travellers are willing to pay for a COVID-19 test to help ease travel restrictions.

In the Asia Pacific region, 2 out of 5 travellers are willing to pay for a PCR test. 66% respondents would be willing to pay for access to an airport lounge where guest numbers are controlled and social distancing is maintained. 82% of the travellers expect to see a rise in contactless payments. Furthermore, only 21% of the respondents said they are worried about the airport lounges as an aspect of the overall journey, demonstrating that the lounge is potentially seen as an escape from the airport crowds.  

Andy Besant, Director of Travel Experiences at Collinson, said, “The fact that most frequent travellers are prepared to return to air travel within the next half-year or even sooner is astounding. It means that if governments, airports and the travel industry can collectively take the right steps, we may see a near-normalisation of air travel far sooner than many predictions that set out recovery taking as long as until 2023. Safely easing restrictions will necessitate a broad strategy including airport PCR testing, such as the first test-on-arrival pilot programme recently spearheaded by Collinson and Swissport for Heathrow Airport in the UK – and the survey results vindicate our efforts to lobby for more industry/government collaboration in service of the safe and effective recovery that will get the world travelling confidently again.”

This is the biggest brand-executed survey about global air traveller sentiment in the COVID-19 era. Over 22,000 frequent flyer members of the Priority Pass programme were surveyed about recent changes to their air travel behaviours and expectations, and what measures would restore their confidence and get them back into the skies. 

The Priority Pass member data further reveals that the airport lounge is seen as a high value service to those ready to fly. Almost 7 in 10 travellers are willing to pay for access to an airport lounge where social distancing is maintained and the majority of travellers (57%) plan to use their airport lounge access more than they did before the coronavirus outbreak. When asked about overall concerns for the journey, a full 74% have no concerns about the airport lounge. Looking at the retail side, 16% of frequent flyers plan to increase their pre-order of shopping and food services.

In terms of the overall airport experience, travellers want and expect a contactless journey. 80% of travellers would like to see contactless payment options across the journey the next time they travel, and 58% want access to real-time heatwave maps of the airport to avoid crowded areas. Around 1 in 3 travellers also cited an interest in “click & collect” services for shopping and food, travel apps with better functionality and airport information, and the use of digital queuing amongst airport retailers to limit in-store numbers. 

Andy added, “The perception of the airport lounge is changing in the COVID-19 era. Frequent flyers now see the lounge as not only a place for refreshments and amenities, but also a necessary part of the journey where they can feel safe and at-ease. Our survey results leave no doubt that frequent flyers want to make more use of lounge access. Contactless experiences are likewise key to boosting traveller confidence, hence our recent initiatives to spearhead the contactless airport journey via new airport lounge standards and safer, touch-free experiences in the airport lounge.”  

Priyanka Lakhani, Commercial Director Middle East and Africa and Director South Asia, Collinson, said, “Collinson’s global findings strongly match the trends we’re seeing in Asia Pacific where the survey found that 70% of frequent flyers are ready to return to travel within the next six months. The key will be safely easing quarantine restrictions, as 87% of travellers say they are concerned about the increase in unpredictable factors such as border closures and quarantines. Another key finding for APAC is the fact that 50% of travellers will use lounge access more often, further supporting the work that Collinson is already doing to help pioneer a safer, comfortable, more contact-free airport experience here and around the globe. With travel gradually picking up  in India, it is clear that Indians are still avid travellers with a desire to travel either for business or leisure. Keeping in mind the need for safety and hygiene measures by travellers, Collinson has introduced multiple initiatives including a new digital “ready-to-order” solution that will be piloted in select partner lounges, a set of global health and safety guidelines for the Priority Pass airport lounge network and contactless access to lounges to support customers taking to the skies again.”

 
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