Air Travellers Increasingly Go Mobile

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.