Vistara, India’s finest full-service carrier, recently announced the results of the second wave of its customer survey to gauge passenger sentiment about flying in the current times. Conducted between 17 August and 02 September 2020, about 4,550 customers responded to the survey. Overall, the responses indicate increased passenger confidence since the first customer survey rolled out by Vistara in June 2020.
According to the survey results, business travel continues to lead traffic at present, along with the segment of travellers returning to their homes or their places of work. This is followed by an expected rise in the number of people visiting friends and relatives starting in October 2020 and a spike in leisure travel in 2021.
Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Vinod Kannan, said: “We have been seeing a steady rise in demand for domestic travel since the resumption of operations in May 2020, and the increased passenger confidence further makes us hopeful of better times to return soon. Our customer survey findings concur with the current trend we are observing in air traffic. We take great inspiration from the survey findings that reflect the trust our customers place in us and our thorough measures to ensure their health and safety.
Nature of Travels Over Next Six Months
41% of the respondents said they plan to take their next flight by November 2020, and 63% expect to take their next flight by February 2021. Flying for business and returning to a place of work/home continues to be the main purpose of travel in the last few weeks for nearly 45% of the respondents. Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) is expected to pick up during the festive season and is likely to continue through February 2021 for an average of 25% of the respondents.
Domestic and International Travel
84% of respondents likely to fly within India on their next flight and only 16% would fly outside of the country. However, 26% of Vistara’s business class customers expected their next flight to be international. The top five most preferred international destinations amongst the respondents that they are likely to travel to by August 2021 (in order of preference): Singapore, Dubai and US, UK, and Thailand.
Greater Confidence in Flying
Two out of every three customers thought that flying is the safest mode of travel. 71% of the customers rated Vistara 8/10 or higher for their confidence in Vistara, ensuring their health and safety. This is an increase of 2pp from the first wave of the survey, despite a significant rise in COVID-19 numbers in India.
The overall customer confidence rating for Vistara stands at 7.9/10. There has also been a significant increase in the number of people who do not fear exposure onboard an aircraft - from 32% in the first wave to 49% in the second wave. The percentage of people who do not fear any exposure at all also increased from 5% to 19%.
Top Concerns for Passengers about Flying Again
The findings of the survey’s second leg highlighted three top concerns for passengers in flying again:
- Quarantine requirements/other restrictions implemented across states
- Higher fares and
- Fear of exposure to contracting the coronavirus
Customer Communication Through Website, Sms, Emails, App and Social Media
85% of Vistara customers feel sufficiently informed about the health and safety measures taken by the airline. The survey recorded an increase of 8pp in customers saying they were ‘very well informed’ – from 36% in the first wave to 44% in the second wave.
During the pandemic, Vistara rolled out several initiatives to inform and sensitise passengers about the necessary information related to travel during COVID-19. “We are glad to see the results of our efforts, including continuous communication to create greater awareness among all flyers and build a sense of shared responsibility to make flying feel safe again,” added Mr. Kannan.
Vistara’s customer survey was conducted online, covering various demographics of its customer base including Club Vistara (CV) members from all tier levels as well as non-members. 58% of respondents were salaried professionals and 24% were self-employed/business owners aged between 18 and 55+. 72% of respondents usual class of travel is economy followed by 22% premium economy respondents. The results were analysed in-house by a team of qualified professionals.