The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our worlds and travel is no exception. With the countries opening up their borders for travellers from across the globe, we, at ixigo, decided to conduct an in-flight experience survey in order to study the current and future traveller sentiment and shifts in travel intentions amid the pandemic.
The survey was conducted with a sample of 5000 users also known as ‘Early Travellers’ – a group of flyers who have travelled in July-August-September and are ready to travel again in the next 3 months.
The survey results show that as travellers return to the skies, the confidence in air travel is rising. 42% of the respondents who had flown recently in the past three months had a comfortable and safe in-flight experience and are ready to travel again. The likelihood of the respondents to take another domestic trip during the next 3 months (42%) is the highest it has been as compared to an earlier sentiment survey done in May (16%).
Main concerns of travellers in the pandemic-era air travel: Airport vs In-flight
Safety and hygiene measures being adopted by airlines and various properties are the most important aspect for travellers during COVID-19.
As per the survey, here are some of the top concerns:
– Queuing up during check-in/security (64%)
– In-flight social distancing (51%)
– Cleanliness of common areas and washrooms (24%)
– Arranging travel from the arrival airport (22%)
– Eating on the plane (9%)
With the current pandemic, there is an increase in anxiety among travellers with respect to planning their next trip. 46% of respondents say fully refundable bookings for travel and accommodation will be their main priority while making bookings in the future. To reduce travel anxiety, we have also launched a new air fare feature ‘ixigo assured’ offering travellers full refunds on cancellations on all new domestic flight bookings.
Rajnish Kumar, Co-Founder & CTO, ixigo said, “As travel demand recovers, we want our users to feel confident and safe and give them a flexible, stress-free booking experience. ‘ixigo assured’ is already helping our users make smarter travel plans by offering an assured refund on all domestic flight cancellations, for any reason whatsoever, prior to their date of departure.“
Important tips by Indian travellers for travelling during COVID-19
The survey asked respondents to share safety tips for fellow travellers to keep in mind while making future trips.
Some of the most cited tips include:
– Reach the airport in time to avoid rush/panic
– Maintain adequate social distancing
– Carry personal safety gear including PPE kits to minimize exposure to COVID-19.
‘Workcation’ emerges as a big travel trend of the season
Bored of working from home? Don’t worry! With various states and countries gradually lifting travel restrictions, people have started going to their favourite destinations and working from there.
The trend report reveals the changing preferences of Indian travellers after the resumption of domestic flights. With travel re-opening, work vacations aka workcations have become the biggest travel trend of the season. With a majority of Indian companies announcing WFH till the end of the year, 30% of recent travellers revealed that they have already been working remotely from a leisure destination of their choice.
Institutional quarantine – A satisfactory experience for most travellers
Travellers also shared their top concerns when they arrived at their final destination. While the majority of the travellers had initially reported concerns around being quarantined, more than 51% of the respondents who had to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine were very satisfied with the overall experience.
When asked about their preferred communication channels for receiving new quarantine protocol/guidelines on destination states, 40% of respondents said they received their information while booking via ixigo from the app’s COVID-19 info page. 23% of the travellers got their information online or through news while 17% got it from the airline of their choice. Only 13% travellers were still unaware of the latest protocols and got the information directly at the airport
Last-minute bookings to dominate air travel
Due to the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, travellers are also booking closer to the actual trip date than usual, with less advanced planning. We have seen an increase in searches to travel within a week in 2020 as compared to last year.
With the establishment of travel bubbles and international leisure travel queries, bookings are also picking up. We have seen a 57% MoM increase in search enquiries in September for international destinations which indicates a strong interest in international travel in the coming months. Increase in queries were for destinations like Dubai, London, Bangkok, Maldives and Kuala Lumpur among others.
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