Rising from just 6% last year, Inmarsat’s latest Passenger Experience Survey showed 75% of airline passengers in Asia-Pacific now feel confident about flying again. Inmarsat had surveyed 4,000 people across the Asia-Pacific region who have travelled by air in the past 12 months.
The renewed confidence in air travel was reflected in findings across the surveyed countries in Asia-Pacific, with India (87%) topping the list, followed by Australia (79%), Singapore (78%), and South Korea (53%).
Airlines are enhancing efforts to create the best possible flying experience. Inflight connectivity remains one of the leading factors that influence which airline is selected by Asia-Pacific passengers, with 83% more likely to rebook with an airline if quality inflight Wi-Fi was available, an increase from 78% in the previous year.
The heightened desire to stay connected while travelling is also evident with 74% saying it is important to connect to Wi-Fi when flying, up from 39% in 2021.
David Coiley, Asia Pacific regional vice president, Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Airline passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific is recovering faster than anywhere else in the world, with a staggering rise of almost 450% year-over-year according to recent statistics from the International Air Transport Association.
“Passenger demand for fast and reliable Wi-Fi has never been higher, so providing access to such services is absolutely essential for airlines. This also serves as the foundation to enhance the overall onboard experience through digitalisation, which our survey results indicate will not only be embraced by passengers, helping to drive their future brand loyalty, but also unlocks even greater revenue generation opportunities for airlines across the Asia-Pacific region.”
The volume of Asia-Pacific passengers using digital devices on flights remains high at 96% – mostly for entertainment and administrative tasks. In addition, 78% have connected to inflight broadband when it has been made available on a flight, more than double the percentage from the previous year (38%). This demonstrates how passengers continue to value top-notch inflight connectivity, suggesting airlines should prioritise the availability of reliable Wi-Fi and simplify the signing up process for travellers to stay connected.
Travellers across Asia-Pacific are also willing to trade for connectivity. 36% of respondents say they would be willing to view advertisements and 32% claim they would even give up alcoholic drinks inflight if it means having access to quality and consistent connectivity. 29% of travellers from India say they are willing go as far as standing for the entire duration for the flight if it meant access to reliable Wi-Fi onboard.
Watching downloaded movies or TV shows was the most popular onboard activity passengers would engage in while connected – 32% indicated they would pay more to access exclusive inflight entertainment content while 28% said they would pay more for both unlimited downloads and social media usage.
Although results show Asia-Pacific passengers are willing to pay for better or more connectivity-enabled experiences during their flights, cost remains the single most prohibitive factor across all markets, with Australian passengers (55%) feeling the most strongly about it. 80% of Asia-Pacific passengers also believe that Wi-Fi should be free on longhaul flights, with 49% saying the same for short-haul flights.
Like their peers around the world, today’s post-pandemic travellers clearly value and even prioritise staying connected throughout their entire journey, including while in the air. As the demand for travel continues to recover and climb further, there are clear opportunities for airlines to tap into the demand for connectivity and offer passengers a richer inflight experience.