Survey: Frequent Flyers Plan to Fly Again Within Six Months
November 23, 2020
Most frequent flyers would be more likely to fly if contactless technology was deployed by airlines and airports
WASHINGTON – Sixty percent of frequent flyers plan to return to the skies within the next six months according to a new survey by Xenophon Analytics in Washington, D.C. The survey was conducted using the firm’s Frequent Flyer Database, which consists of more than 200,000 opt-in frequent flyers from across the United States. Before the pandemic, 73% of respondents took more than three trips a year and 38% flew six or more times; 84% of frequent flyers have not flown since the COVID-19 crisis was declared a pandemic and health emergency in mid-March.
“Large numbers of air passengers are ready to begin flying again, which is good news for the airline industry,” said Xenophon Strategies President David Fuscus. “Over the past four months, global aviation has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic with fewer flyers, job cuts, grounded airplanes, and deferred or cancelled aircraft orders.”
Of the frequent flyers planning travel in the next six months, 63% are planning on personal travel while 10% will be traveling for business and 27% will be traveling for both. Of those traveling for pleasure, two thirds will be taking a holiday or vacation and one third will be attending an event such as graduations, weddings or anniversaries.
“It is clear from the data, that after months of quarantine and restricted movement, people have cabin fever and want a vacation,” continued Fuscus. “But business travel will be anemic, possibly because of continued work travel restrictions and the widespread use of video conferencing and other remote work technologies.”
However, the anticipated surge in flying comes with high expectations from passengers with virtually all respondents ranking social distancing, face masks for crews and passengers, availability of hand sanitizer, good aircraft disinfection procedures, and an increase in the use of touchless technology, such as facial recognition, as necessary to gain their confidence.
“Frequent flyers want and expect social distancing, disinfecting, face masks and empty middles seats,” said Fuscus. “But they also want an increase in contactless technology at airports’ check-in and security lines to help prevent the spread of the virus.”
Eighty-six percent of flyers ranked contactless technology as important in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 and most want to see it at check-in and baggage drop, security screening, and boarding the flight. Sixty-eight percent thought that the pandemic would lessen privacy concerns about biometric technologies, like facial recognition, and make the technology’s integration into everyday life more acceptable.
Xenophon Analytics’ 2020 Frequent Flyer Survey polled more than 3,000 frequent flyers who are self-described members of loyalty programs of major U.S. airlines including Delta, United, Southwest, American, JetBlue, Alaska and others. The survey was conducted from May 28 through June 18, 2020, and has a margin of error of +/- 2%. The poll can be viewed on Xenophon’s website here.
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About Xenophon Analytics and Xenophon Strategies
Xenophon Analytics is the research arm of Xenophon Strategies, which is a 20-year-old non-partisan communications firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Xenophon Strategies represents clients from the U.S./Canada, Asia, Central Asia and Europe. Xenophon is a member of the Public Relations Global Network and has 50 sister firms around the globe. More information can be found at www.xenophonstrategies.com.