Psychology may be key to improving passenger experience

Guestlogix, the global provider of airline commerce technology and a pioneer in onboard retailing and ancillary revenue generation, has published an academic report identifying the psychological concept of “learned helplessness” which inhibits airline passengers from enjoying their experience and negatively impacts airline revenues, the company said.

The report provides actionable insights on how airlines can solve this problem to their benefit.

The report is entitled “The Empowered Passenger: Break the Cycle of Learned Helplessness to Drive Customer Satisfaction and Higher Revenues.” The author of the report, Dr. Gary Edwards, PhD, has helped executive leaders of the world´s best-known brands take a Decision Sciences approach to solving complex business challenges.

Among the report´s main findings:

Since airline deregulation, airlines have cut back on service quality to meet the demand for lower fares, and passengers have agreed to the tradeoff.

Even as airline passengers become increasingly frustrated — and vocal — about the quality of service, they have no choice but to accept the situation, which leads to a “learned helplessness.”

Learned helplessness has a direct impact on airline business as air travel becomes a joyless affair and passengers interpret ancillary selling as “nickel and diming.”

One study found that after just one negative experience, customers were 20% more likely to switch brands and 25% more likely to complain about the company. By contrast, after just one memorable experience, 19% of delighted customers said they purchased more products/services.

While carriers are under pressure to offer ever lower ticket prices, they need to recognize the substantial upside of pursuing higher customer satisfaction at each touch point, as well as satisfaction with the overall journey, typically measured in the form of Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

Built on the rails of the best on-the-ground e-commerce technologies that include passenger analytics and product mix optimization, data-driven sales and marketing tools and comprehensive payment functionality, the Guestlogix airline commerce platform enables airlines to increase ancillary revenue through an integrated, data-driven and customer-centric approach to onboard retail. Combining passenger-level data with an intelligent, “big data” analysis layer and integrations with airlines´ operational systems including loyalty, ERP, booking and departure control, the SaaS-based platform enables airlines to create a stress-free travel experience for their passengers. Visit to learn more.