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Affluent Airline Customers

Goals

To understand the habits and loyalty of affluent travelers in the U.S. regarding airlines, particularly if they switch airlines for international travels and are loyal to one airline in the first place.

Early Findings

Demographic

  • Affluent Americans correspond to 20% of the U.S. population but account for 51% of all travel spend.
  • Eighty-two percent are married, with a household income lower than $500,000 yearly. Over 60% have full-time jobs and spent four or more years in college.

Preferences

  • Affluent travelers are self-sufficient planners and bookers who prioritize experience. They are more likely to book directly from the airlines and to plan and book their trips online.
  • Younger affluent travelers expect airlines to provide personalized content adapted to their preferences and needs.
  • Online resources are essential for the affluent young traveler, as they rely heavily on social media to plan their trips.
  • Another aspect influencing affluent travelers are carbon emissions, as they are looking for sustainable travel experiences.

Loyalty

  • They want airlines to validate their status as preferential clients. Affluent travelers enjoy when airlines recognize their status as loyal customers, as it makes them feel valued as clients.
  • Seventy-two percent of affluent travelers consider their individual needs and preferences more important than their loyalty to a specific brand.
  • United, Delta and American Airlines are adapting their offerings to fit affluent consumer’s needs and desires. The decision is part of a significant industry trend to give more space and better service to high-paying passengers who account for a disproportionate share of airline revenue.

Proposed next steps:

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