by Martina Rohm
In-flight Service determines airline passengers’ decision
Due to rapid changes and new trends in the aviation business, continuous product revision is required to respond to customer demand and to react to increasing competition. Lufthansa Consulting has developed a specialized in-flight service evaluation system which reviews and assesses the onboard product of airlines, in detail, and can be adapted to particular customer requests. The client receives a comprehensive analysis of more than one hundred single product elements as a basis to review the overall in-flight product strategy and to improve processes on board.
The In-flight Product today
Customer satisfaction is an essential goal for each airline providing passenger services. The on board experience is still something special for the client. The customer has a wide choice to select the appropriate airline product according to their requirements. Therefore, airlines are continuously working on the in-flight product development and innovation to differentiate themselves from competitors. During the last few years a variety of in-flight product innovations have entered into the market. This includes the aircraft seat on long haul flights as an important product element which is continuously being improved and renewed according to its life cycle and changing customer requirements. The current development of Business Class seat roll-outs shows the significance of this product element which influences the buying decision of the passenger especially on long haul flights. Lufthansa’s recently introduced PrivateBed, Singapore Airlines’ SpaceBed and Air France’s Espace Affaires seat are just a small selection. Most high quality airlines are constantly striving to enhance the seating comfort to achieve competitive advantage. Also the “classic” Food & Beverage Service has passed through numerous product enhancement activities recently. “Carry-On Cuisine” where passengers can order their meal at a restaurant to be delivered at the airport, “OnDemand Meal Service” with more personal attention and a wider selection available, “In-Flight Café” on flights introducing additional charges for meals and snacks are examples of product diversification.
A recent new development is “FlyNet”, access to internet and e-mail on board established by Lufthansa, which enables the passenger to work and to communicate using facilities comparable to those on the ground.
Lufthansa Consulting’s In-flight Service Check
What happens if a passenger leaving the aircraft feels discontented? Questions like “Why do I pay such a high ticket price for unfriendly service, a cold meal and uncomfortable seating?” can be thoughts of an unsatisfied customer. Consequently, due to the negative experience, the client will reconsider the buying decision for further flights and will probably switch to another airline. This kind of situation belongs to the daily business in the passenger airline industry. How can this kind of situation be recognized by an airline if passengers do not communicate their opinion? To meet customer expectations passengers’ point of view and experiences are of enormous importance for a carrier. Therefore, the airline should research the opinions and satisfaction levels of clients and consider this situation as a challenge to review and potentially enhance product and performance. Which kind of instruments are established in the service sector to discover passenger impressions? How is it possible to monitor to what extent an airline keeps its product promises according to passengers’ perception? Customer surveys on board or on the ground and customer feedback are common tools. Is there any other opportunity to get a complete picture of their own performance from a neutral external perspective? Lufthansa Consulting has developed a suitable and fast alternative to the challenge of product assessment. The...