BBC Global News, the BBC’s commercial, international news arm, has announced the results of new research into the global appetite for inflight connectivity. It found that frequent flyers have substantial interest in staying connected while on a flight and are prepared to pay more for it.
Titled ‘Slipstream’, the research was commissioned by BBC Global News and conducted by independent research consultancy MTM. It shows that almost two thirds (63%) of regular travellers consider access to Wi-Fi important when booking a flight and 69% say it would significantly improve their in-flight experience, with the main reasons being the desire to communicate, to be entertained and to keep up to date with what’s happening around the world.
The survey highlights a number of commercial benefits for connected airlines including increased consideration in the mind of the customer because of a better inflight experience and an improved reputation, particularly in terms of being seen as innovative, modern and exciting.
In addition, 62% of respondents said that they would be more likely to choose an airline if live TV was available – a figure which rose to 78% for business class travellers and 89% for first class passengers. Significantly, travellers consistently reported a willingness to pay more for it, with over half of those surveyed happy to pay 5% on top of their standard fare, and a third prepared to pay an additional 20%.
The specific TV and news brands an airline opted for also had a discernible impact on consumer perception, with almost half of respondents more likely to travel with an airline offering BBC World News, rising to two-thirds of first class travellers.
Zina Neophytou, vice president of Out of Home at BBC Global News, said: ‘As bandwidth to aircraft increases, there are growing opportunities for airlines to offer passengers an enhanced in-flight experience. Our research demonstrates a resounding consumer demand for connectivity and access to live news programming while in the air. As airlines’ capacity grows, we look forward to our continued delivery of BBC World News’s unique blend of innovative, impartial journalism.