OAG has interesting data on how people say they go about searching for flights, what information they want (and thus what information might shift their booking behavior to another platform), and what the biggest frustrations in travel are.
The survey of 2,474 travelers (31 percent business travelers, 69 percent leisure travelers) was conducted from December 2016 to January 2017 and distributed to users of the company’s FlightView mobile travel app on iOS and Android.
Travelers are most likely to start searching for flights on an airline site or app (41%) or at an online travel agency or airfare meta search site (28%).
More than half of people want to know:
- Whether a flight’s price will drop if they wait to book (although people also don’t trust fare prediction sites)
- Whether they’re likely to make a connection that comes up in flight search
Surprisingly, travelers report being less interested in knowing about inflight amenities. OAG suggests this is because people are more reliant on their own devices, and don’t worry about inflight entertainment options. Blog readers no doubt disagree. It could just as easily be an assumption that air travel is bad, everyone is equally bad, and that there are no amenities to speak of (a perception that’s wrong, but that airlines have done little to dispel and much to reinforce).
On-time performance is the third most important booking factor after price and schedule.
41% of travelers say they’d be willing to pay more for “guaranteed reimbursement in instances of flight delays or cancellations” which at first blush seems strange considering:
- travelers are entitled to a refund for cancellations
- premium credit cards provide reimbursement for significant delays and cancellations
- people can buy travel insurance
But current products are either obscure (most people don’t know about credit card benefits) or untrustworthy (‘guaranteed’ here is an important phrase when it comes to airlines and travel insurance).
The biggest frustration business travelers face is lack of timely updates about flight delays. A substantial majority of people want better information about security wait times, and of course the TSA’s app is useless in this regard. PreCheck isn’t considered a solution either, in fact “45 percent of travelers with TSA PreCheck – and 57 percent of business travelers – report that TSA PreCheck has become too crowded and is losing its initial value.”