As India’s finest full-service carrier, Vistara, prepares to gradually ramp up operations, the airline rolled out a survey to ask its customers how they felt about flying again since partial operations resumed on 25 May 2020. Nearly 6,000 customers responded to Vistara’s survey, including Club Vistara members from all tier levels as well as non-members.
65% of the respondents expected to take their next Vistara flight within the next six months, and 57% of the Club Vistara elite (Platinum and Gold tier) members said they would fly as early as in the next one month. According to the survey, business travel emerged to be the biggest reason for them to travel, with 35% of the respondents indicating so, while 25% of the respondents expected to travel to visit friends and relatives.
“To travel is an innate human need and evidently, customers are looking forward to their upcoming travels. Our customer survey validates this, and we expect demand for air travel to soon return in a graded manner. This finding gives new energy to our plans of growth and expansion in months ahead”, said Mr. Vinod Kannan, Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer.
Singapore, UK and Dubai – Top 3 Destinations for Customers’ Next International Travel
20% of the survey respondents planned to take their next flight to a destination outside of India. Singapore, the United Kingdom and Dubai were named most often as the destinations for the respondents’ next international trip, followed by the United States and Thailand.
Three of these five international destinations are already part of Vistara’s international network, which the airline plans to expand to other countries in and outside the continent as it inducts new narrow-body and wide-body aircraft.
Passenger Confidence in Vistara
69% of the survey respondents rated Vistara 8/10 or higher in terms of their confidence in the airline for ensuring their health and safety while travelling. On deeper analysis, the average confidence rating was found to be slightly lower (7.5) among certain groups of respondents e.g: non-frequent flyers.
Top 3 Customer Concerns About Flying Again
The survey showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought three key concerns among customers about flying – the fear of exposure through the journey, fellow passengers not following health and safety protocols, and anticipated higher fares (in order of prominence).
The airline regularly conducts health checks of its crew members, has significantly reduced contact between its crew and customers, temporarily discontinued in-flight meals, onboard sales, reading material etc. to safeguard health and safety of passengers and staff in the ongoing pandemic. With an intensified aircraft cleaning procedure, Vistara disinfects and sanitizes all its aircraft before every take-off and performs deep cleaning every 24 hours. Powerful, in-built air filtration systems on all of Vistara’s aircraft ensure the elimination of viruses and bacteria to refresh the cabin air every 2-3 minutes.
Information that Travellers are Looking For
83% of the survey respondents felt sufficiently informed of all such measures that Vistara continues to take.
“This positive feedback of our customers is very encouraging and reflects the trust they place in us even in these difficult times. Through meaningful communication, we aim to keep our customers even better informed of all our health and safety measures as well as seek their participation just as much in making this possible. This battle cannot be fought alone – together with our customers, we will continue to make every effort to make flying feel safe again”, said Mr. Kannan.
Customers also rated the information sent to them that they value the most. The four key aspects that emerged are: a) how customers can make their travel easier b) sanitisation and hygiene practices that Vistara follows c) safety guidelines for customers and finally d) how Vistara is taking care of its staff in the current circumstances.
Other Travel Trends
Domestic: For business travel, 68% of the respondents indicated that they are either likely maintain the frequency of their travel as the previous year or take more flights, while the remainder (32%) said they may reduce.
For leisure travel/visiting friends and relatives, 60% said that they would either maintain the same frequency or increase, while the remainder (40%) would reduce their travel from the last year.
International: 74% of the respondents suggested they are likely to fly the same number of times as the previous year or increase their travel for business. The remainder may reduce.
65% of the respondents indicated that they would travel the same number of times for leisure or to meet friends and relatives, while the remainder may reduce.
Vistara’s customer survey was conducted online between 8 and 14 June 2020, covering various demographics of its customer base. The majority of respondents were salaried professionals and self-employed/business owners aged between 18 and 55+. The results were analysed in-house by a team of qualified professionals.