Passenger confidence increases, what should airlines do to speed up?

05:00:25 - December 07, 2021

After many countries have reopened borders recently, everybody is eager to pack their bags and travel. According to Inmarsat’s latest survey, up to 60 percent of travelers are ready to fly at the end of this year. The number is much better than only 47 percent last year. By this, airlines will also have more motivation to enhance service quality and regain what they lost in the past difficult period.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “There is no denying that the past 18 months have been a turbulent time for airlines and passengers alike. However, the latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures show that demand for both international and domestic travel is gaining significant momentum.”

He added: “In order to maintain and even accelerate this growth, it’s essential to rebuild passenger confidence and ensure their evolving needs are met in a post-Covid world.”

Positive numbers

Inmarsat, the world leading company in global mobile satellite communications, has unveiled the findings of its “Passenger Confidence Tracker 2021” report, the largest and most comprehensive global survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began.

The 2021 report was carried out by market research company Yonder with 10,110 online interviews among respondents who have taken a flight for leisure or business in the last 24 months. Respondents were surveyed coming from many countries around the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, the UK, US and United Arab Emirates.

The results show that their confidence in air travel is on the rise. In particular, 60 percent of passengers feel happy to fly within the next 6 months. Passengers in Greece are the most confident about air travel (29 percent), followed by Australians and Brazilians. The report also mentions that the rate of passengers who want to travel less frequently has dropped by 6 percent.

When it comes to Covid-19 concerns, one in three people (37 percent) felt less confident taking a bus or coach compared to a flight. This rate was highest for passengers in Brazil (70 percent), India (48 percent) and the United Arab Emirates – UAE (42 percent). Globally, 40 percent of passengers felt the metro was riskier than traveling by airplanes.

About health and safety issues, 84 percent of passengers believe that implementing Covid-19 vaccine passports is a good idea. Amongst, 50 percent state that Covid-19 vaccine passports should be implemented now and 34 percent state it should only be implemented when everyone has been vaccinated.

However, there is up to 84 percent of survey respondents believing their travel habits are likely to change post pandemic. That’s why airlines have to ensure their services can keep pace with the increasing requirements of passengers in the future. Inmarsat’s report also came up with some tips to support carriers to seize customer demand and psychology to accelerate at the end of the year.

What are passengers searching for in airlines?

As regularly mentioned, the pandemic has changed the world significantly and travelers’ requirements have increased. Following the heavy loss during the past months, it’s time for tourism, especially the aviation sector to try its best to recover when the year-end travel demand is quickly emerging. Inmarsat’s report also shows the top factors for passengers traveling by aircrafts.

Customer experience: Post pandemic, the passenger service experience is regarded as the most important factor when enjoying a flight (46 percent globally). The highest responses came from India (67 percent), Brazil (67 percent), Indonesia (59 percent) and China (57 percent).

Safety: Obviously, health and safety are extremely important to anyone now. According to the “Passenger Confidence Tracker 2021” report, the potential of quarantine is the greatest worry for people (51 percent), even more than catching the virus at the airport or on the plane (43 percent). And 62 percent would like all airlines to follow the same hygiene practices, which comes out as the most important factor for Australians (63 percent).

Modern technology: Ongoing digital transformation in the aviation industry remains a catalyst for passenger confidence. While onboard, digital technology helps to improve confidence by keeping passengers connected and minimising their direct contact with others, including cabin crew and other passengers. Travel factors which are applied by digital technology such as pre-flight Covid-19 testing (56 percent), digital health passports (47 percent), thermal scanning (42 percent), destination status alerts (39 percent), staggered boarding (39 percent), etc. can all improve passenger confidence as well as experience. This suggests that airlines don’t embrace digitalization, they may lose out when passengers increasingly return.

Nowadays, customers are more and more sophisticated and trendy so they don’t want to miss any latest news. Therefore, inflight internet connection is a very essential factor. In the Americas, passengers highlight onboard Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment now more than pre-pandemic. Inflight Wi-Fi is the most important factor for the US (55%) and Canada (41%). Meanwhile, passengers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa consider free baggage and extra legroom as much more important.

Airline’s reputation: 50% of survey respondents stated that an airline’s reputation was key. A lot of passengers said they will only travel with trusted airlines in the future. The good news is that passenger satisfaction about how airlines have responded to the pandemic is now 72%, up by 12% compared to last year. Thereby, airlines can boost their understanding, update and flexibly respond to the crisis to further strengthen the trust of customers.

“Airlines are also embracing innovating new ways to enhance customer onboard experience using connectivity, with a major focus on touchless experiences in keeping with today’s passenger expectations,” said Philip Balaam.


During the gradual recovery, airlines in particular and the tourism industry in general need to prioritize developing advanced technology, ensuring safety as well as improving customer experience. If an airline is able to meet these important factors, its reputation and awareness can easily increase. Initially, passengers may choose an airline because it’s well-known but if it cannot keep up with the times, the airline will gradually lose its reputation.

Recently, the new Covid variant has scared many people. Some countries will probably close their doors again for safety. No one knows for sure how the situation will change in the future but in the coming times, airlines still can actively improve their services while maintaining passenger confidence.

Passenger confidence increases, what should airlines do to speed up?


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