Air travellers are increasingly turning to mobile and this is hardly surprising given the widespread adoption of these devices. According to the latest annual survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 48% of air travellers in the United States have used a smartphone to research flights. This represents an increase of 12% over 2013 and shows how important it is for travel providers to offer a mobile friendly user experience. The poll findings also reveal that 69% of travellers have checked the status of their flight via mobile phone, up from 56% in 2013. In addition, 55% have checked in for a flight through their mobile device compared to 38% in 2013.
Furthermore, the study suggests that even though more and more travellers now carry smartphones, the majority of them are not paying for Wi-Fi. In fact, a staggering 90% have never or rarely paid to use Wi-Fi. And while practically everyone owns a mobile phone these days, most air travellers are not happy when the passenger seated next to them makes a phone call: a massive 81% say they are against the Federal Aviation Administration allowing in-flight phone calls.
Mobile devices feature high on the list of essential items carried by air travellers: 52% consider their tablets a must-have item for travel, placing these gadgets at number three on the necessities list. The first place was occupied by reading materials, which were cited by 77% of the sample, and second place went to medication which was mentioned by 53%.
Other findings of the poll show that booking and boarding technologies are improving. When participants were asked what improves their air travel experience, 38% cited the streamlined check-in process, 36% said the easy booking process, 32% highlighted the more streamlined boarding and 25% noted the improvement in in-flight entertainment options.
Aside from travel technology, TripAdvisor asked US air travellers about the state of air travel and 93% of those surveyed said they would take at least one domestic flight this year. Such intentions were revealed by 89% in 2013. International travel also saw a solid increase, with 63% revealing plans for overseas flights compared to 55% in 2013.
Comfort is still among the biggest issues, proving an even greater concern than additional fees and costly tickets: 73% complained about uncomfortable seats or limited legroom compared to 66% who were unhappy about excessive fees or high ticket prices. Among the top five issues, unpredictable flight delays took the third spot with 45%, while long security queues and loud or crying children completed the chart of major issues, mentioned by 35% and 32% respectively.
Finally, 42% of passengers said that they were willing to pay more for flight tickets in exchange for getting seated in a child-free area. Another 35% of travellers believe that their air trip would be more pleasant and comfortable if there was increased legroom, while 32% said that more comfortable seats would enhance their trip.