There are certain carriers that are slowly doing away with in flight entertainment systems, as well as those that pride themselves on offering only the bare bones to keep ticket prices low for consumers. While this might fly (pun intended) for a customer who travels regularly on business or who is keen to travel on a strict budget, those examples don’t necessarily encompass the majority of travelers. Since 78% of domestic trips are actually taken for leisure purposes, most passengers are going to be headed to a vacation destination. That means that relaxation and enjoyment are likely among their top priorities. Ultimately, there’s no better way for passengers to start their getaway off right than to have in flight entertainment technology available to them.
According to the recently released J.D. Power 2018 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, airline customer satisfaction increased for the seventh year in a row. But consumers are notoriously hard to please in the amenities category. In flight entertainment systems, as well as food and drink, are incredibly important to modern travelers. And when airlines don’t accommodate these needs, their scores can suffer.
According to Michael Taylor, the travel practice lead at J.D. Power, “Today’s passengers expect trouble-free connectivity for personal devices and airlines are challenged to keep pace with the technology that can achieve that goal. This is important because passengers are far more likely to have a positive experience with an airline if they are entertained during their flight.”
What’s more, the report revealed that passengers who are forced or choose to use their own mobile devices to access in flight video and entertainment systems are less satisfied with the variety of entertainment available, as compared to passengers who travel on airlines that offer seatback screens as part of their in flight entertainment systems.
It’s not only about the selection of movies or television channels, either. According to a 2013 Air Travel Survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 25% of respondents would choose one airline over another due to the carrier’s WiFi offering. Another press release from 2017 found that 60% of passengers believe that in-flight WiFi is actually a necessity — not a luxury. In addition, 44% of respondents said that they would stop traveling with their preferred airline within the next year if the carrier failed to offer connectivity that would allow them to stream or use the internet without interruption.
Although a good amount of respondents value in-flight WiFi over free onboard entertainment, that doesn’t mean that carriers should eliminate their entertainment systems completely to focus on internet access. For many passengers, having the technology produced by in-seat USB power manufacturers and gaining access to superior in flight entertainment systems is what makes them actually look forward to their flight. Whether passengers want to escape into the world of a newly released movie or want to chat with their friends online at 30,000 feet, these two amenities are ones that the majority of carriers can’t afford to skip when designing their global aircraft interiors.