The survey evaluates airline preferences among 1,000 U.S. air-traveling consumers who have traveled at least once within the past six months. The survey measures consumers' awareness of commercial airline carriers (network, non-network, and regional) and the important drivers of the ticket purchase process, customer service, check-in process, in-flight experience, and frequent-flyer programs.
While network carriers garner better brand awareness and market share of air travelers, overall non-network and regional carriers are rated higher for their check-in processes, customer service contact, and in-flight experiences.
According to the survey, most air travelers start their commercial airline ticket purchase process on travel websites or commercial airline websites. Even though travel websites are a good source of information, the largest proportion of air travelers actually switches purchase channels and purchases directly from commercial airline websites.
"Interestingly, the top purchase drivers are the same among those who purchase using a travel website versus those using a commercial airline website," comments Tonya Fowler, Global Director with Frost & Sullivan's Customer Research Team. "Thus, I think deeper investigation in a follow-up study may reveal more emotional aspects (i.e., trust, loyalty, etc.) that lead more airline travelers to purchase via commercial airline websites versus travel websites."
Overall, most air travelers used check-in processes that did not require in-person interactions. However, ratings of the check-in process overall – including all types of check-in – are relatively high, to which the lack of "live" interactions may contribute to these high ratings.
"Low-cost airline airfares are not always the lowest airfare when compared to those of legacy carriers and travel websites," comments Nathan K. Smith, Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan's Aerospace & Defense Team. "Strong advertising and branding have lead to the myth of 'look no further.'"
As a final point, the most important factor contributing to the in-flight experience is having "luggage that arrives at its destination." Top-rated airlines for flight experience garnered the largest proportion of future flight intentions.
This survey was conducted by Frost & Sullivan's Customer Research Team, working in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan's Aerospace & Defense Team. Specifically, the Customer Research Team conducts independent, unbiased research among end users to evaluate and measure companies and trends in the market.
For more information, please send an email to Jake Wengroff, Corporate Communications, at jake.wengroff[.]frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company web site, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by email.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from 40 offices on six continents.