Amid Pending Travel and Laptop Bans, Airlines that Haven’t Gone All-App are Stuck in a Holding Pattern

Increasing regulations can often be bad for business as they will most likely have unintended consequences and pose new challenges for businesses to circumvent. This can be seen with the Trump administration’s laptop ban proposal and now push in the Supreme Court for the travel ban, as these are already having an impact on American travelers and airlines alike.

In our recent Radius survey, we found that nearly three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) believe the Trump administration is making travel more difficult, with 37 percent fearing that the administration has caused Americans to avoid traveling in and out of the US.

For an industry that is already struggling to maintain customer loyalty, these numbers should rightly scare airlines. Fear of flying compared with this impending inconvenience of no-laptops in-flight is a tough pill to swallow.

That means ensuring a pleasant travel experience and minimizing those frustrations that accompany flying are more important considerations than ever. The market for customer loyalty is ripe for the picking, and according to our survey results that will be released in the not-so-far future, airlines that have all-in-one mobile apps are going to win that loyalty game.

Mobile Apps Can Alleviate The Pain From Loss Of Laptop

It’s hard to argue that business travelers will be able to get all their work done on their phones. But for those flyers who don’t need to deal with Excel en route, much of today’s usage of a laptop can be accomplished through a mobile phone.

Without laptops on board, airlines have a huge opportunity to proactively reach customers and personalize their experiences through their phones. We’ve already seen this with airlines like Southwest that are going screenless and moving towards a ‘bring your own device’ environment. Today it’s required that Southwest passengers download the airline’s third-party entertainment app in order to have access to available streaming and purchasable content.

The app experience can be so much more than entertainment though. Many passengers already search and book flights through an app and use it to check-in. What if a single app for an airline could take care of the entire flying process, from purchase through post-travel feedback? The convenience of having everything in one app would incentivize customers to choose that positive experience, especially on those frequent occurrences when all other factors (price, flight time, etc.) remain essentially equal.

A Seamless Experience Is Not Complete Without Native Customer Service

Regardless of how great a travel experience can be, there will always be bumps in the road because of the nature of the industry. So to truly prioritize overall experience and build customer loyalty, airlines need to have an excellent customer service solution to match.

We’ll spend more time on the “how” in coming posts, but the “why” should be clear: there can’t be a seamless customer experience without a seamless service experience. And the entire experience should live in one place to create that sense of seamlessness.

We believe that one place, the “where” if you will, is customers’ mobile phones. After all, considering the news this week, it certainly isn’t their laptops.