Airline Ancillary Services: You May Be Building, But Will They Come?
Author: PhoCusWright Inc.
Published: May 26, 2011
Airline efforts to strike gold with ancillary products have shaken up air distribution, creating a need for new shopping methods and backend technologies. But despite the resulting hullabaloo among airlines and intermediaries, one crucial stakeholder is often overlooked: the traveler. While airlines are increasingly enthusiastic about their new revenue stream, U.S. air consumers are only lukewarm, according to a recent PhoCusWright report, Heat from the Middle Seat: The U.S. Consumer Perspective on Air Travel.
To date, the most commonly purchased ancillary product is checked baggage. Over half of fliers (58%) pay to check their bags, though many do so begrudgingly. One in three travelers have purchased advanced seat selection, while over a quarter bite on meals or snacks. Yet all other ancillary products studied have a much smaller audience. Roughly 15% of travelers purchase in-flight entertainment, and an even smaller share dish out for in-flight Internet access, extra legroom or priority boarding.
When asked to gauge their interest in purchasing extra services, over one third of travelers indicated they have no interest in paying more than the ticket price. While half of travelers are "interested" in paying for necessary services like checked bags, the audience for any one of the optional services (e.g., services for comfort, flexibility or convenience) is smaller than two in ten.
Heat from the Middle Seat: The U.S. Consumer Perspective on Air Travel provides insight into key issues that shape travelers' relationships with airlines, and analyzes how those relationships impact the leisure air travel landscape. The report studies air shopping and booking behavior among U.S. travelers, measures consumer sentiment toward airlines, and examines the factors impacting traveler loyalty. Key topics include:
- The role of intermediaries in the air shopping process
- Traveler interest in ancillary products
- Traveler attitudes towards airlines, and trends over time
- Attitudes and behaviors of airlines' most valuable customers, including business travelers and those with high annual travel spend
- Incidence of behavioral loyalty toward airlines, impact on booking channel, and loyalty drivers
This report, a derivative of PhoCusWright's Consumer Travel Report Third Edition (forthcoming), is essential reading for travel companies throughout the air distribution chain. As airlines seek to minimize distribution costs and boost earnings with new, bundled services, the consumer perspective remains a crucial – but often overlooked – success factor. Heat from the Middle Seat: The U.S. Consumer Perspective on Air Travel (US$695), a Global Edition publication, tracks the most important traveler trends impacting air travel sales and distribution.