As recovery begins for the industry, reassuring passengers that travel is safe will be the main priority. One part of the journey that travellers are currently talking about is the food service onboard.
In episode six of PEC Virtual Series, we were joined by Patrick Prefontaine, VP Business Development, Fethr. As a data analytics firm, they have a deep insight into what customers are talking about by analysing social media and other forms of communication.
Defining the “new normal”
Since the pandemic has begun, apprehension about food and eating with masks has gone up by 110%. Travellers are also worried about open plates and the overall hygiene onboard.
Many passengers are also wondering about the choice they will have or if they will be food at all. This has led to some passengers bringing their own food, and some airlines are even encouraging these. Of course, on long haul flights, limited food options could lead to passengers not eating for eight hours or more.
Sustainability still of concern
Another trend that Fethr has noticed is questions around the supply chain and the sustainability of food onboard. Passengers are finding that the lack of clarity around food preparation and processing has led to a 60% increase in hesitance of eating onboard. Sustainability also plays a role here and that is something we highlighted in our ‘Five Trends for Onboard Catering in 2020’ article.
This current crisis could also serve as a catalyst for an overhaul to the dining experience. Prefontaine believes that long haul services should take this opportunity and truly improve the overall offering.
Onboard offerings need to change
One way to do this would be to increase the product range. In research done by Fethr, they found passengers have not made a purchase because of a limited product range. The use of devices onboard to order products for when travellers land could be one way to increase revenue that airlines make.
As airlines look to conserve cash in the short term, they also need to look at how they can increase revenues in other areas by being innovative.
To hear more of what Prefontaine had to say, make sure to watch the full webinar: ‘Returning to Travel: How Data and Tech can help meet the needs of Passengers.’ It’s also available on demand and features: