FlightView Survey: Airlines Missing Substantial Opportunity to Sell Ancillary Services to Business Travelers

High-value customers indicate an appetite to purchase travel-related services and amenities via mobile devices


GBTA [SAN DIEGO & BOSTON] August 5, 2013 — Airlines are missing a major opportunity to drive more ancillary revenue from business travelers, according to a recent survey of 902 business travelers by FlightView, the day-of-travel information company.

According to FlightView's survey, more than half of all business travelers would consider purchasing in-flight amenities and services if offers were pushed to their mobile devices before they boarded the plane. Specifically, business travelers would consider mobile, day-of-travel purchases of:

  • In-flight WiFi 65.3%
  • Seat with extra legroom 55.4%
  • Business- or first-class ticket upgrade 50.2%
  • Early boarding privileges 43.0%

However, in the last 12 months, only 45 percent of business travelers have actually purchased a seat upgrade or add-on (such as in-flight WiFi) using an airline's mobile website or app.

"There is major opportunity to increase revenue and improve the travel experience by pushing relevant services via mobile," said Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView. "Our research shows that business travelers tend to purchase extras on an as-needed, opportunistic basis, which makes deciding how and when to present ancillary service offers a complex challenge for airlines."

Adoption of Mobile Search and Booking Accelerates

Beyond day-of-travel purchases, business travelers are also leveraging mobile devices to search for and book travel-related services. Of the 75 percent of respondents that reported owning a tablet:

  • 69.5% use their tablet to search for flights
  • 55.7% leverage their tablet to check hotel options
  • 35.8% search for ground transportation

Mobile search, however, doesn't always translate to mobile purchases.  Only 61.8 percent of business travelers have actually booked a ticket using their tablet, and even less (52.9%) have purchased tickets on a smart phone.

"Mobile adoption has taken a strong hold amongst the travel-savvy, and now airlines must focus on converting mobile usage to mobile purchases," said Benjamin. "The key is simplifying the purchasing process and making it more relevant and timely for business travelers, and that can only be accomplished by putting forth a reliable, highly-functional offering."

While airlines have made great strides to improve the overall usability and functionality of their apps, almost half of all business travelers (48.3) are still underwhelmed.  Of that group:

  • 43.3% are most dissatisfied with the usability
  • 28.9% want more advanced functionality, like itinerary sharing, mobile boarding, etc.
  • 27.8% are frustrated with inaccurate or slow flight information

As a result, only 42 percent of business travelers routinely use their preferred airline's app while traveling, and almost 17 percent never use it.

For more of FlightView’s survey findings and additional industry insights, visit FlightViewFromtheSky.com.

FlightView’s survey includes responses from 902 travelers.  The survey was pushed to users of FlightView’s Android and iPhone flight-tracking app, and launched and completed in March 2013.


About FlightView

FlightView is the recognized provider of the most accurate, real-time flight information solutions for the aviation and travel industries. FlightView's Dispatch and FVXML products help aviation and travel professionals achieve superior customer service with actionable real-time information. FlightView's information displays can be seen at airport terminals and on the Web sites of the largest major airports, airline and travel companies. FlightView's software services and solutions are relied upon by the US government, the world's largest airlines, airports, aviation and travel professionals, ground transportation companies and news outlets. Founded in 1981, and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, FlightView has more than 20 years of experience in building and supporting mission critical systems for the FAA and the Volpe Center. To access real-time flight information online, visit FlightView Flight Tracker or FlightView Mobile Flight Tracker.

FlightView Contact:

Katherine Wellman
VP of Marketing
(617) 787-4200

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