If time is money, Europeans are wasting billions on flight search

According to a special report published by Sabre during the IATA World Passenger Summit in Barcelona, Europeans spend more time looking for flights than actually flying, in a process complicated by a vast variety of search and flight options available.

Findings include:

  • 43% of Western Europeans are expected to fly to warmer climates this winter, but will first spend an average of 3.5 hours in the flight search and bookings process.
  • When planning trips from London to New York for Christmas shopping, one in ten travellers will spend 7 hours searching for their flight.

Roshan Mendis, senior vice president EMEA at Sabre says of the findings:

“Holidays are meant to be an escape, but, before they get to their destinations, people are spending hours finding the flight that best suits their needs. This is compounded by airlines increasingly unbundling their fares and selling a wider range of extras.

“It’s a real paradox. On one hand the choice is fantastic for passengers, but on the other, it makes flight search and comparison tedious and complex–with some people visiting 38 websites before making a booking.

“Advancements in data insights can help airlines cut through the clutter by offering travellers very specific and bespoke options based on their individual needs.  This level of personalisation is the holy grail for the travel industry.”

Sabre surveyed 2,200 consumers from Western Europe (UK, Germany, Spain and Italy) about their pre-travel experiences. Findings broken up by generation and location include:

  • 25-34-year-olds spend the longest amount of time finding the right flights – 4 hours 9 minutes, longer than most inter-European flights
  • The over-55s spend the least amount of time at just 3 hours 45 minutes.
  • Italian travellers spend the most time finding their perfect flights (4 hours 8 minutes). Italian women aged 25-34 took the most time of all groups at almost 6 hours.
  • Spanish travellers took just 2 hours 47 minutes.

Sabre’s study had good news for those airlines planning their personalisation strategies around passenger data. Airlines came second only to banks, in terms of businesses with which consumers would have confidence sharing personal information; more so than with other consumer sectors like online retailing, music, TV and fashion.

Mendis notes:

“The future of travel revolves around how well airlines and other travel suppliers can get to know and communicate with their travellers. Our research shows a willingness from travellers for airlines to use data to improve the flight experience.  This is great news, but today we’re only scratching the surface.”

Image by Pixabay.

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