New research into the global appetite for inflight connectivity has been released by BBC Global News, the BBC’s commercial, international news arm. A key finding is that frequent flyers have ‘substantial interest’ in staying connected while on a flight and are prepared to pay more for it.
Titled ‘Slipstream’, the research was commissioned by BBC Global News and conducted by independent research consultancy MTM, it was revealed today at APEX Expo in Los Angeles. The survey is based on 20-minute online surveys by MTM, which were completed by 3,000 frequent international flyers across eight key markets: the UK, Japan, Singapore, US, Germany, LATAM (Brazil, Chile and Mexico), Australia and Spain. All respondents had to have taken a minimum of two flights in the past year, with a quarter having taken five or more.
The survey results showed that almost two thirds (63%) of regular travellers consider access to wi-fi important when booking a flight, and 69% say it would ‘significantly improve’ their inflight experience, with the main reasons being the desire to communicate, to be entertained and to keep up to date with what’s happening around the world.
In addition, 62% of respondents said that they would be more likely to choose an airline if live TV was available – a figure which rose to 78% for business class travellers and 89% for first class passengers. Travellers also consistently reported a willingness to pay more for wi-fi, with over half of those surveyed happy to pay 5% on top of their standard fare, and a third prepared to pay an additional 20%.
According to the findings, the specific TV and news brands an airline opted for also had a discernible impact on consumer perception, with almost half of respondents more likely to travel with an airline offering BBC World News, rising to two-thirds of first class travellers.
Zina Neophytou, VP of Out of Home at BBC Global News, said, “As bandwidth to aircraft increases, there are growing opportunities for airlines to offer passengers an enhanced inflight experience. Our research demonstrates a resounding consumer demand for connectivity and access to live news programming while in the air.”