Stats: Travel Habits, Loyalty Shaped by Age and Disruption

There is a generational divide when it comes to how factors like schedules, destination options, disruptions and delays impact travelers’ brand loyalty and booking habits, according to OAG’s latest survey, "Loyalty & Disruption: The New Age of Travel." The survey, which includes insights from 2,000 travelers between the ages of 18 to over 60, suggests that while older travelers largely remain loyal to their preferred airline, younger generations are more likely to choose brands based on costs and on-time performance.

In the past year, Baby Boomers remained the most brand-loyal, with only 15 percent switching airline loyalties. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Millennials are the least-brand loyal, with 47 percent switching airline loyalties. When it comes to cost, Gen Z (77 percent) are the most likely to change airline preferences to find flights that suit their budget, followed by Gen X (69 percent), Millennials (59 percent) and Baby Boomers (47 percent).

On-time performance also plays a defining role in loyalty, with 36 percent of all travelers saying it is the number-one reason for their continued loyalty to their preferred carrier. OAG found that when cost and schedule options are relatively equal, punctuality is the biggest differentiator, with 82 percent of all travelers—and 91 percent of Gen Z—saying that on-time performance affects the flight and/or airline they book with.

Other traveler preferences that influence loyalty include:

  • Status and frequent flier programs are tied with on-time performance as the number-one reason 25 percent of Baby Boomers have remained brand loyal.
  • Thirty-four percent of Baby Boomers and 46 percent of Gen Z have changed their preferred airline to access more schedules and destination options.
  • Thirty-seven percent of all travelers changed their airline loyalty due to having experienced significant delays or cancelations in the past year. Millennials were the most impacted, with 42 percent switching their airline loyalty because of a significant delay or cancelation.
  • When it comes to climate impact, Millennials (20 percent) are the most driven by sustainability when selecting flights, compared to Baby Boomers (1 percent).

OAG’s survey gathered insights from a combination of travelers who have flown in the past year along with users of OAG’s Flightview app.

Source: OAG

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