Inflight Wi-Fi remains a key driver in forming customer loyalty and satisfaction among airline passengers across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), according to Inmarsat’s largest poll of passenger attitudes.
The fourth annual global inflight connectivity survey, conducted in association with market research company Populus, finds Wi-Fi is already an essential part of everyday life on the ground with more than eight in 10 survey respondents in MEASA (85%) believing that it is “fundamental” to daily life.
With seven in 10 MEASA passengers (70%) describing inflight Wi-Fi as crucial, meeting the demand for Wi-Fi in the skies is key to improving passenger experience and driving loyalty in the region.
Inmarsat says Wi-Fi is now so critical to passengers that more than eight in 10 (84%) would be more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi is available.
Inflight connectivity (IFC) is also considered the second most important factor for passengers in MEASA when choosing an airline, behind only airline reputation.
The impact of inflight Wi-Fi on loyalty and satisfaction is particularly significant for passenger groups most keen to remain connected in the air.
Nine in 10 passengers in the region (90%) would use inflight Wi-Fi if it were available on their next flight, with high-value customers, parents and young passengers among those most likely to use inflight Wi-Fi services – nine in 10 business travellers (90%), passengers travelling with children (91%) and 18-30-year-olds (93%) in the region plan to use the service if it’s offered when next they fly.
It found onboard inflight connectivity could also lead to more productive business trips, as four in five business travellers (80%) in the region would use inflight broadband to continue working on the plane.
Access to Wi-Fi is also an important driver of choice for nervous flyers in MEASA, as two thirds (66%) said that they would use the technology to remain in contact with family and friends on the ground.
As demand for inflight connectivity soars, uptake is similarly high as more than two thirds of passengers (69%) who had access to inflight Wi-Fi in the past year chose to use it.
However, the demand for quality broadband access is significantly outstripping supply on airline fleets, as less than three in five passengers in the region (57%) travelled on flights where the service was offered.
Ben Griffin, Vice President MEA and APAC at Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Wi-Fi is essential to daily life on the ground, and airline passengers see no reason why their time on a flight should be restricted or spent any differently.
“From sending that important work email to entertaining children, staying online is becoming a crucial part of the inflight experience for today’s airline passengers.”
Griffin continued: “The desire to stay connected in the air is especially true to passengers across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, as this year’s survey reveals that nine in 10 passengers in these regions want to use inflight Wi-Fi if it is available on their next flight.”
Middle East, Africa and South Asia inflight connectivity survey highlights
Of passengers surveyed in MEASA:
- 84% would be more likely to rebook with an airline if high quality inflight Wi-Fi were available
- 80% of business passengers would be likely to work on a plane to be productive if inflight Wi-Fi were available
- 78% of passengers would be likely to recommend inflight Wi-Fi having tried it previously
- 69% of those that have had access to inflight Wi-Fi in the last year used it
- 63% would exchange inflight tea and coffee for access to inflight Wi-Fi
- Quality is key: for 62% of MEASA respondents no Wi-Fi at all is better than a poor-quality service