In this week's round trip, we're going entirely digital. Check out stories from last week centering around digital advancements and inflight connectivity in the aviation space:
This past week at Aviation Festival – one of the many events on Guestlogix's must-attend list for fall – industry experts came together to talk all things airline experience. One of the most popular topics was that of inflight connectivity. During the AirXPerience panel, the panelists discussed how inflight connectivity gives airlines another opportunity for creating ancillary revenues. They argued that inflight shopping was dying and they will need inflight connectivity to boost their numbers. Passenger data can be used to better personalize their experience by creating targeted offers. The internet has had a great effect on how customers shop on the ground so it is easy to assume a similar trend inflight. After all, you could potentially get the undivided attention of a passenger for hours – something retailers on the ground are rarely able to do.
Another hot topic from Aviation Festival last week was digital. In a panel, airline leaders discussed how airlines must make technological improvements to their offerings, otherwise they will be left behind. Passengers are expecting airlines to make these advances that they are used to on the ground so when they see one that doesn't have them, they move on. There is opportunity for both front-end and operational improvements. Not only can you offer your passengers better digital experience, you can improve your business by upgrading your day-to-day operations. The leaders mentioned how they believe companies should outsource customer-facing digital initiatives so they can focus on developing their own operations.
Spirit, an airline known for their limited onboard amenities, is close to equipping its Airbus A320 fleet with wifi. The airline expects to be fully equipped in about a year's time. Spirit Chief Executive, Bob Fornaro, does not foresee any changes to Spirit's low-cost model due to this change. He believes that costs have come down considerably for wifi equipment and this will eventually lead to other low-cost carriers bringing wifi onboard. Spirit believes that this offering will cater to its growing young customer base who are tech savvy.
Yet another airline is coming fully on board when it comes to inflight wifi. Virgin Atlantic is now the first European carrier to offer inflight wifi across its entire fleet. Virgin offers multiple options for passengers who want to connect mid-flight. A basic messaging pass – allowing passengers to message but nothing else – runs passengers £2.99; a "light" package that offers an hour of access costs £4.99; and finally a "max" option gives passenger entire-flight access to wifi for an unlisted price. Virgin has stated that 42% of passengers opt for the max package.