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APEX Insight: Gogo, which released the first installment of its Global Traveler Research Series earlier this month, thinks the habits of today’s 18 to 35 year olds will set the in-flight expectations of tomorrow – and nearly 50 percent of millennial travelers expect their connected experience in the air to be the same as it is on the ground.

What will the future of air travel be like? A closer look at today’s younger flyers may hold answers, according to Gogo. The connectivity provider thinks the habits of today’s 18 to 35 year olds will set the in-flight expectations of tomorrow.

Earlier this month, Gogo launched the first installment of its Global Traveler Research Series called “The Travelers of Tomorrow.” Gogo partnered with Lieberman Research, a market research firm, to survey 4,500 respondents in 15 countries. The results found that nearly 50 percent of millennial travelers expect their connected experience in the air to be the same as it is on the ground. Although 90 percent of younger travelers have a preferred airline, 48 percent would choose another airline if Wi-Fi was not available on their preferred flight. They are more likely to multi-task on their devices during flights. Forty-six percent of the 18 to 35-year-olds report using Wi-Fi and watching a movie or show on their device compared to just 33 percent of travelers.

APEX Media spoke with Gogo’s director of Insights, Alyssa Hayes to delve deeper into the findings.

How discerning are today’s younger flyers about the various in-flight connectivity providers such as Gogo and their brands?

We do know that half of millennials think Wi-Fi should be as fast in the air as it is on the ground and inflight connectivity needs to work like on the ground for connectivity providers to stand out for millennials. We as a company are relentless to make the experience in the air as good as the ground with Gogo 2Ku for our airline partners, and ultimately the passengers.

What do the habits of 18 to 35 year old passengers tell us about what the passenger experience could look like in 2037?

By 2037 we won’t be talking about in-flight connectivity separately as it will be pervasive – both for the passenger and airline operations. The airline will be connected to the passenger throughout the entire journey. Predictive analytics and connectivity will drive a personalized/tailored flying experience on the flight – per seat.

By 2037 … the airline will be connected to the passenger throughout the entire journey. – Alyssa Hayes, Gogo

Has in-flight Wi-Fi gone from being a product differentiator to a service which is expected as standard?

I think we are already starting to see this in areas where in-flight connectivity has been available for a couple of years. And the data supports that, as 63% of millennials think more flights should offer Wi-Fi to meet their needs. Passengers are coming to expect this amenity to be available in flight and to work as it does on the ground; it’s only a matter of time before it is expected as a standard offering.

Did you collect any interesting insights about millennial travelers unrelated to in-flight connectivity?

We did see that while millennials are relatively new to traveling, they are traveling much more, particularly for business and international travel than non-millennials. And we are seeing this data vary by region. This tells me there is an untapped opportunity to really understand this segment in terms of attitudes towards travel and ways to make sure the travel experience is as seamless and pleasant as possible.

How will Gogo make use of this data? Will it drive your decision-making?

Innovation is a key focus area for Gogo. The “travelers of tomorrow” are an important group for us to study since they are the passengers who will be using the products and services we create with airlines for the next 15-20 years. Understanding the behaviors, needs and expectations of these passengers help guide our product, service and technology roadmaps. I am very excited to say that there is much more to come in regards to the Global Traveler Research Series. We will be releasing several different reports publicly over the course of the next few months and customized analysis will be available this summer for our current partners and select airlines.

 

Ari is the news editor at APEX Media.