‘Shut up and fly’! Half of Britain’s 25-34s would prefer not to engage in conversation with airline staff

August 29, 2019

Cutting the small-talk whilst travelling hit the headlines with Uber’s ‘Quiet Mode’ earlier this year. But it seems that cars are not the only place where passengers are looking for silence as according to latest research from Mintel, half (50%) of Britain’s 25-34s who have flown in the last year would prefer not to engage in conversation with airline staff.

And it’s not just Millennials who are looking to avoid the chit-chat, as more than a quarter (27%) of all Brits who have flown in the last year agree it’s best that airline staff don’t speak to passengers during the flight. Preferring not to engage with pleasantries, the nation’s male flyers (32%) are considerably more likely than their female counterparts (22%) to resist striking up a conversation.

When it comes to in-flight entertainment, around half (48%) of travellers say it’s more convenient to use their own devices than to use seat-back screens on airlines, while 51% believe that airlines’ in-flight entertainment programmes offer sufficient choice. In search of a more high-tech flying experience, 45% believe virtual reality (VR) headsets would improve in-flight entertainment programmes. Roughly four in 10 (44%) passengers would be interested in booking holiday excursions/activities while on board a flight.

Overall, 62% of long-haul passengers would prefer to pay more for a better flying experience when booking flights outside of Europe, with 45% of short-haul passengers willing to do so when flying within Europe.

Marloes De Vries, Travel Analyst at Mintel, said:

“It’s perhaps not surprising that many Millennials prefer not to have in-person conversations with airline staff, given their proclivity to use social media to stay in touch with friends when on the ground. As such, in-flight messaging via an airline’s app could help to better engage with this audience. Several airlines are trialling virtual reality to entertain and communicate with passengers in new ways. VR could also be used to help passengers visualise their holiday activities and encourage them to make on-board bookings. This could especially appeal to young people, who love to post their holiday photos on social media and help them imagine their perfect Instagrammable holiday moments.”

Increasing environmental pressures on growing aviation industry

While Brits love to travel, environmental concerns are high on the agenda for the nation’s flyers. The majority (59%) of UK passengers believe that airlines should prioritise investments into alternative fuels. A further 45% believe that airlines should prioritise investments into electric planes.

Overall, just over a third (34%) of UK holidaymakers admit to feeling ashamed when they fly to destinations that can be reached via more sustainable transport methods (such as trains). However, when it comes to the actual reality of making a booking, just 7% say the environmental policy of a travel brand was one of the main reasons they picked the holiday they eventually chose.

“Rising media attention, including members of the royal family chartering private jets, as well as celebrities pushing their environmental views, have recently caused some controversy. Aviation taxes are under discussion in Europe and there is a sense of urgency for airlines to take action and reduce CO2 emissions.

“However, as much as travellers say they care about the environment, when choosing a travel company it’s price, ease of booking and previous experience that matter most. In fact, very few travellers are actually swayed by a travel company’s green credentials when it comes to choosing who they book with. Despite this, there are still opportunities to help travellers who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint whilst travelling, such as adding labels within search results to highlight more sustainable, environmentally-friendly choices.”

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