BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following a disastrous 2014 winter travel season that saw 136,649 flights cancelled across the U.S., according to FlightView data, travelers want airlines, agents and travel management companies to completely revamp how they manage major travel disruptions.
In fact, during a travel disruption, 85 percent of the 2,000-plus travelers surveyed by FlightView would prefer having multiple rebooking options sent to their phones so they can pick the itinerary that works best for them – instead of the airline, agent or service provider just automatically assigning a new flight. More than 93 percent of travelers would also value being asked about their re-booking preferences (first flight out, direct only, shortest travel time, send options, etc.) when they first buy their ticket.
“We’d estimate that very few travel providers are equipped to personalize the re-booking process in this manner – especially during major travel disruptions. But with travelers growing more impatient with the lack of communication during delays, and the continued advancement of mobile technology, it’s time for airlines, travel agents and providers to rethink their approach,” said Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView, the day-of-travel information company. “The progression from pushing data one-way to personalized, two-way communication is a natural next step in the mobile travel evolution.”
While some self-service technologies across the travel ecosystem are becoming available and travelers are rapidly adopting them, habits for dealing with flight cancellations are still stuck in the past. When a flight is cancelled, nearly half of all travelers surveyed by FlightView still go to an airline agent for help rebooking. Only 21 percent of travelers search for new flights and rebook on their mobile devices.
Top Travel Frustration: Poor Flight Information
While travelers understand that delays and cancellations are part of the travel experience – and often unavoidable -- very few travelers are satisfied with the flight information they are provided during delays:
- 44% of travelers said their biggest frustration when their flight is delayed was receiving conflicting flight status information from different sources – like gate displays, mobile apps, airline websites, travel services and gate agents.
- 38% said their biggest frustration was not receiving fast enough or accurate updates on the new departure time.
- 18% said their biggest frustration was not knowing where their airplane was currently located or when it would arrive at the gate.
Somewhat surprisingly, the issue of conflicting flight information has become more problematic over the past few years. In a 2012 FlightView study that polled travelers on the same question, only 34 percent of travelers named conflicting flight information as their number one frustration during a delay – 10 percent less than today.
“Poor flight information is one of the top detractors to customer experience,” said Benjamin. “When travelers don’t have the information they need – or worse, when they have conflicting data – they can’t take action. And that causes a ripple effect that extends well beyond just the traveler – it impacts family, work, travel reservations, service providers and more.”
Beyond improved transparency and communication, travelers are also expecting providers to make more use of the data that they collect. More than 75 percent said they want the relevant parties affected by their flight (like hotels and ground transportation) automatically alerted when a change or delays occurs. Among the travelers surveyed, when there is a change in plans:
- 45% want their hotel automatically notified
- 43% want updates sent to friends and family
- 38% want ground transportation to be notified
- 11% want their work updated
“Connected information-sharing has the potential to make the entire travel experience easier and more efficient – for both travelers and service providers,” said Benjamin. “It’s especially important from a duty-of-care perspective. Providers and travel agents need to know where their customers are, when they will arrive, and if they should take action.”
For more insights from FlightView’s survey, get a complimentary copy of the report, Building Loyalty and Enhancing Customer Care During Travel Disruptions, here.
FlightView’s survey was conducted in September 2014 and includes responses from 2,104 travelers. 63% of respondents classified themselves as leisure travelers and 37% as business travelers.
FlightView is the leading provider of accurate, real-time flight information solutions for the aviation and travel industries. FlightView was started in 2008 when CEO Mike Benjamin brought a new management and technology team to RLM Software, the first recipient of the ASDI (FAA radar) data feed and long-time consultant to the FAA. With a new focus on delivering actionable flight information across the full range of media platforms, FlightView was born. Since then, FlightView’s customer list has grown to include over 130 airports, several major and mid-sized airlines and other travel related customers who employ FlightView information in digital displays, Web and mobile sites, native apps and other uses. FlightView mobile products were launched starting in 2009 and our native apps for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm platforms have logged over 3.3M downloads. FlightView is located in Boston, Massachusetts. To learn more, please visit FlightView.com and follow us on Twitter: @FlightView