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Air passengers call for more retail opportunities and slicker online checkout, says survey data

93% would buy services like excursions and car rental from their airline if they could

New survey data from travel tech company IBS Software, reveals a massive 93% of UK and US consumers would book more services with airlines given the chance – representing a huge opportunity for airlines.

The study, which looked into UK and US airline passengers’ expectations of airlines, shows that following a challenging period of travel uncertainty, passenger confidence is recovering with 83% of respondents planning to purchase tickets in the next six months. However, the research also points to airlines’ failings to maximise this opportunity with over a third (36%) of those asked stating that booking a flight online is more time consuming and complicated than other online retail experiences.

As many as 56% of recent flyers would buy additional services from an airline if the booking and checkout online shopping experience was closer to that of fashion retailers and online food shops. One in ten even said they would book all elements of a holiday with their airline if they could.

Nearly a quarter of people (24%) surveyed think the main benefit of booking multiple elements of their trip in one transaction would be having all confirmation details in one place, closely followed by saving money (22%), and having one provider to deal with if something goes wrong (19%).

Turning a one-time buyer into a repeat customer is challenging for any business. The top services airlines could offer to convert passengers into lifelong fans are: included baggage (60%), free seat allocation (51%), and priority boarding (25%).

The survey was conducted online by Censuswide between 9th and 13th January 2023. Covering 2000 consumers who have travelled by air for leisure in the last 18 months, with 1000 respondents from both the US and UK.

Paul Byrne, VP iFly Retail at IBS Software: “As more and more industries invest in Amazon-esque tactics to compete for consumer spend, it’s important airlines don’t pass up the opportunity on the table. It’s always challenging transforming back-end technology but now is the time to build more personalised relationships with your customers – in a difficult economic climate, can you afford not to?”.


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