Airline Sites Need Work

A survey of visitors to the Web sites of several major airlines has found that they have some work to do in the eyes of their customers.

NPD Online Research polled more than 13,000 visitors to the sites of American, Continental, Canadian, TWA, and United Airlines Web sites in October of 1998 and found that only 18 percent of the visitors were able to find the information they were looking for every time.

The visitors to airline sites are accessing information about flight availability and frequent traveler programs, but less than one-third of the visitors purchase tickets online.

Men were more likely to buy tickets online than women, the survey found, and experienced Web users (two or more years online) were more likely than those new to the Web. Experienced travelers (at least six flights in the previous year) were also likely to purchase tickets online. Sixty percent of those surveyed plan to purchase a ticket online in the next year.

The following features were ranked as “extremely/very important” to airline sites:

  • Delivery of up-to-date information (92 percent)
  • Information well organized (87 percent)
  • Search results relevant/accurate (87 percent)
  • Easy to use/navigate (87 percent)

The demographics of visitors to airline sites skew upscale. More than half (59 percent) are in the 25-44 age group. The average household income of the visitors is $93,000. Males are more likely than females to visit airline sites (63 percent vs. 37 percent), and 72 percent of the visitors have graduated college or completed higher education.

Almost 70 percent of those being surveyed had more than two years of online experience. Seventy percent of the visitors frequently visit travel-related Web sites, with 45 percent visiting a travel site at least once a week

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