Airline investments, including new airplanes, design changes and modern technology such as airline smartphone apps have all enhanced the air travel experience. But what you may not realize is how much the typical airline passenger has changed to keep up with this developing mode of transportation. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs dug deeper to learn more about the modern passenger and what they value during their air travel experience.
Fifty years ago, air travel was an elite mode of transportation, destined only for the Don Drapers of the world. The typical traveler was likely a man, flying strictly for business purposes.
Today, accessible air travel has flipped this notion on its head and opened up the skies to anyone who wants to fly. In fact, there is no ‘typical traveler’ in today’s world. Modern airline passengers reflect the U.S. population as a whole and represent people from all races, backgrounds, age groups and locations.
In 2015, 48 percent of air travelers flew for personal leisure purposes and 21 percent flew for non-leisure purposes. Only 31 percent flew for business, compared to 47 percent in 1997. This uptick in leisure-travel placed increasing importance on ticket price and air travel accessibility for the average American.
Overall, today’s passengers prefer the freedom to choose the airline services and amenities that they want so they can control the price of their ticket. This à la carte pricing is especially important to budget-conscious millennials, middle-class travelers and retirees.
Passengers today are also increasingly tech-savvy. Ninety-eight percent of air travelers own a computer and 70 percent own a tablet or e-reader device. Travelers use these devices during the check-in process, with 72 percent reporting the use of a personal device as their preferred check-in method.
Today’s traveler lives in a modern world and expects modern air travel to accommodate this lifestyle. Airlines have met this challenge and are working hard every day to provide an experience that meets every passenger’s needs. And as travelers evolve with the times, you can be sure that airlines will continue to do the same.
To learn more about this year’s State of Air Travel in the United States annual survey, please visit http://survey.airlines.org/.