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Passengers are engaging with IFEC, says APEX survey

APEX has published the results of its inaugural Global Passenger Experience Survey, which garnered responses from 1,500 fliers between the ages of 18 and 55+ from across 8 countries worldwide – USA, UK, China, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Australia and Brazil.
Looking at the results, those who thought the traditional seat-back in-flight entertainment (IFE) system was in decline will be forced to acknowledge evidence suggesting the contrary. The average time spent by passengers watching in-flight provided films or television amounted to 15% of their overall journey, in comparison with 9% spent watching films or TV on a personal electronic device (PED).
The average passenger currently spends an even smaller 6% of their flight on social connectivity (email, messaging, facebook, twitter), ranking it 10th out of 12 in-flight activities which were covered. To give a further sense of perspective, passengers spent more time reading the in-flight magazine and conversing with fellow travellers (7%) than using social media.
However, APEX has deduced that passengers think in-flight connectivity is the number 1 area of improvement, so it’ll be interesting to see whether watching TV and films on PEDs and making broader use of in-flight Wi-Fi will begin to take up more of a passenger’s flight time as technology becomes more widely available.
The survey also showed that the opportunity for ancillary revenue from in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) amenities looked positive. When passengers were given eight different options for purchasing in-flight services before boarding, IFEC ranked fourth in terms of popularity. 8% of passengers said they’d consider paying for IFEC, after extra legroom, seat selection and food, beating checked bags, priority boarding and guaranteed overhead luggage space.
Furthermore, passengers who did purchase IFEC services seemed to be more satisfied with their overall flight than the average traveller, coming in at 77% and 76% satisfaction (having purchased inflight entertainment and connectivity respectively) against the average passenger satisfaction score of 73%. The only thing making passengers even more satisfied than paid-for IFEC was in-flight shopping – so there is such a thing as retail therapy, after all?
The gender breakdown surrounding IFEC usage was another compelling element of the survey. Firstly, males said they were more likely to purchase connectivity, whereas females were more likely to buy IFE.
Overall, a marginally higher percentage of females were engaging in IFEC activities than men across the board, even when it came to in-flight gaming (whether through the seat-back or their phones etc.). It’s ironic, then, that males felt more satisfied with the IFEC services provided…Or not?
There looked to be a trend across the survey which showed that the age groups, countries or genders using a certain service more frequently saw the most room for improvement in those areas. Take Brazil, for example. With 9% of Brazilian passengers engaging in social connectivity (compare that with Japanese passengers, of whom 1% said they used social media in-flight), Brazil was the country least satisfied with social connectivity services.
In conclusion, there’s no doubt that the inaugural APEX Global Passenger Experience has provided the industry with some serious food for thought. Who knows, if airlines take notice, perhaps it won’t be long until we see female-focused in-flight games or simply more tiered subscription IFE content becoming available. Watch this space.

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