Travel Tech

TripAdvisor's annual air travel survey, which was released end of last week, took the pulse of more than 4,300 U.S. respondents on a variety of issues connected to the state of air travel. The number of U.S. travelers expecting to fly this year is on the rise, as 93 percent intend to take a domestic flight at least once in 2014, up from 89 percent, who said they flew domestically last year. International air travel is also taking off, with 63 percent planning flights abroad, compared to 55 percent who did so in 2013 (Tnooz).


When travellers were asked which changes could improve the air travel experience, the majority of responses centred on increasing the efficiency of processes. The top 5 improvements comprised:

  • 38%: More streamlined check-in process
  • 36%: Easier booking
  • 32%: More streamlined security process
  • 28% More streamlined boarding process
  • 25%: Better in-flight entertainment options

It is interesting to see that the majority of areas for improvement require technological responses. Booking, check-in processes and in-flight entertainment, are all areas where in particular mobile technologies are likely to make a significant impact in the near future.


The importance of mobile devices for researching prices and flight options, but also to check in before the flight is on a continuous rise. In particular, travellers use their smartphones to:

  • Check flight status – 69 percent of respondents, up from 56 percent in 2013
  • Check in to flights – 55 percent, up from 38 percent in 2013
  • Research flight prices – 48 percent, up from 36 percent in 2013

However, the increasing use of smartphones by air travellers does not extend beyond the pre-trip-stage. In fact, 9 in 10 travellers indicate that they rarely or never purchase in flight WiFi access and 81 percent would be opposed to the FAA allowing in-flight cellphone use.


The survey also provides a closer look at the items that respondents regard as necessities for flying. Tablet computers are now considered an essential item for more than 1 in 2 air passengers (52%), just after reading materials (53%) and medication (77%).





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