Dubai – :
The coronavirus pandemic has brought global travel to a halt, but nearly 3 in 4 frequent flyers (71%) are ready to return to travel either immediately or within the next 3-6 months, this according to a new survey from Collinson’s Priority Pass. The global survey also reveals that unpredictable factors such as quarantines and border controls represent travellers’ top concern about returning to air travel – 74% identify this as a worry.
Andy Besant, Director of Travel Experiences at Collinson, said: “The fact that most frequent travellers are prepared to return to air travel within the next half-year or even sooner is astounding. It means that if governments, airports and the travel industry can collectively take the right steps, we may see a near-normalisation of air travel far sooner than many predictions that set out recovery taking as long as until 2023. Safely easing restrictions will necessitate a broad strategy including airport PCR testing, such as the UK’s first test-on-arrival pilot programme recently spearheaded by Collinson and Swissport for Heathrow Airport – and the survey results vindicate our efforts to lobby for more industry/government collaboration in service of the safe and effective recovery that will get the world travelling confidently again.”
This is the biggest brand-executed survey on global air traveller sentiment in the COVID-19 era. Over 22,000 frequent flyer members of the Priority PassTM programme were surveyed on recent changes to their air travel behaviours and expectations, and what measures would restore their confidence and get them to take to the skies.
The Priority Pass member data further reveals that the airport lounge is seen as a high value service to those ready to fly with almost 7 in 10 travellers willing to pay for access to an airport lounge where social distancing is maintained. When asked about overall concerns for the journey, a full 74% have no concerns about the airport lounge. Looking at the retail side, 16% of frequent flyers plan to increase their pre-order of shopping and food services.
In terms of the overall airport experience, travellers want and expect a contactless journey. 80% of travellers would like to see contactless payment options across the journey the next time they travel, and 58% want access to real-time heatwave maps of the airport to avoid crowded areas. Around 1 in 3 travellers also cited an interest in “click & collect” services for shopping and food, travel apps with better functionality and airport information, and the use of digital queuing amongst airport retailers to limit in-store numbers.
Besant added, “The perception of the airport lounge is changing in the COVID-19 era. Frequent flyers now see the lounge as not only a place for refreshments and amenities, but also a necessary part of the journey where they can feel safe and at-ease. Our survey results leave no doubt that frequent flyers want to make more use of lounge access. Contactless experiences are likewise key to boosting traveller confidence, hence our recent initiatives to spearhead the contactless airport journey via new airport lounge standards and safer, touch-free experiences in the airport lounge.”
Priyanka Lakhani, Commercial Director Middle East and Africa and Director South Asia at Collinson, said, “It is encouraging to see that Collinson’s global findings strongly match the trends we’re seeing in the Middle East and Africa regions. The survey found that an overwhelming 43% and 40% of frequent flyers in the Middle East and Africa regions respectively are ready to return to travel within the next six months and as soon as tomorrow. The key will be safely easing quarantine restrictions, as 34% and 38% of the Middle East and Africa travellers, respectively, say they are concerned about this aspect of the journey. Another key finding for the Middle East and Africa regions is that the majority of travellers in the Middle East (64%) and Africa (66%) plan to use their airport lounge access more than they did before the coronavirus outbreak with 73% and 82% respectively willing to pay for lounge access as long as the facilities meet the stipulated health and safety regulations and distancing criteria, further supporting the work that Collinson is already doing to help pioneer a safer, more comfortable, more contact-free airport experience here and around the globe.”