Just before Thanksgiving, we attended The PhoCusWright Conference for travel industry professionals which Travel & Leisure magazine calls the "epicenter of travel technology". We were impressed by the highly informative and thought-provoking presentations - here are a few of our favorite takeaways and glimpses of innovations that could be helping us all travel smarter in the very near future.
Topics: trips, ads, PhoCusWright, business travel, booking, leisure travel, experience, self-service, customer service, social media, mobile, technology, travel planning, travel, itinerary, big data, check-in
The holiday travel season is off to a rocky start with nasty weather hitting much of the country this week, plus winter storm Boreas battering airports in the busy Northeast corridor. Combine high winds, driving rain and blizzard-like conditions with holiday crowds, and you've got a recipe for monster flight delays. Want some good news? FlightView's had over 30 winters to hone our holiday travel skills and we're offering you our 5 best tips for surviving the not-so-friendly skies.
If you’re like me, you avoid purchasing ancillary services like the plague when you book your airline ticket. After feeling as though I’ve finally succeeded at finding the lowest fare to my destination, at least for the moment, I have no interest in spending more money on in-flight Wi-Fi, extra bags, early boarding privileges, or a lounge day pass (I’m 5’ 1” so extra legroom is a bit unnecessary for me). In fact, with so many extra fees associated with booking airline tickets today, I feel great about getting away with 1 fee plus tax!
But how about the day I fly? I may have gotten up at 4am to make an outbound flight and now it is 7pm and I’m arriving at the airport to catch a 9:30pm flight home. I’m exhausted and that airline lounge sounds mighty appealing for the next 2 hours. Or I may have arrived at the gate only to find out the plane is completely full; meanwhile I know I need to bring my bag on the flight so I can quickly deplane and grab a cab to a business meeting. Paying for early boarding privileges is ideal.
Do you Wi-Fi when you fly? On a flight from D.C. to Boston last weekend with our antsy toddler, I seriously considered coughing up the cash for in-flight internet service even though we’d only be in the air a short time. But the weird thing is, it didn’t cross my mind to purchase Wi-Fi until the flight attendant made the announcement that it was available. It seems I was on the same page as many of our respondents in a recent FlightView traveler survey where 71% of travelers hadn’t purchased add-on services like Wi-Fi via an airline’s mobile website or app, but almost 60% would consider it if a notification was pushed to their device before boarding.
In-flight wi-fi options
More and more travelers carry tablets on their flights – some using them to accomplish work on the plane while others using them for entertainment or leisure browsing. Tablets are much friendlier devices to manage while sitting in a “compact” airplane seat than laptops. They are smaller and lighter and therefore more comfortable to hold in your lap. Even if you place your tablet on the seatback table, it is less awkward to move around when your neighbor wants to pass in front of you on her way to the restroom. Tablets are becoming so popular that a few airlines, such as Virgin Australia, have started to rent them to passengers as they board the plane while others, like Delta, deliver mobile in-flight portals for passengers to view on their tablets.
In addition to becoming popular travel companions, tablets are often used when searching for travel-related services – in some cases during the travel itself. In a recent FlightView survey, where responses from over 3,000 travelers were tallied, 69% reported owning and using a tablet to search for travel services. Of these folks, 62% had searched for flights, 45% had searched for hotels, and 26% had searched for ground transportation, all over the past 12 months. While almost 70% of people surveyed searched for flights, just under 50% actually purchased flight tickets on their tablets (49%). Why don’t they follow through with the booking? While in the past some folks might have said they were concerned about the security of mobile devices or that their transaction would get lost in-process, this is not the case today. The top two reasons for not purchasing their tickets on their tablets were the difficulty of entering all the required information on a smaller device (16%) and that people prefer using a laptop or desktop to make their final flight purchases (57%).