The 3rd Battleground: Communication

By David Griffiths & Natasha Tanzil

VP Content, Head of Insight & Insight Consultant
3 minute read

The impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty around recovery has led to a feeling of uneasiness that has transcended international borders. The only thing we know for certain is that following this pandemic, the aviation industry has a few bridges to rebuild in passenger confidence. We’ve seen a 357% growth in passenger distrust over past three months. Previously, we’ve looked into Safety & Sanitation and Food & Beverage, today we turn our focus to Communications – an area that extends beyond the journey and is proving essential in rebuilding passenger conversation.

Over the past three months, we’ve seen an 80% growth in passengers looking for information about travel advisories and policy/procedural updates. We’ve also seen an increase of 27% in people feeling they leave conversations with airlines feeling dissatisfied with the information they get back – in many cases they feel they get nothing back. Passengers are looking to book travel again, to understand the travel regulations required to reconnect with families across borders or states, and to understand how their future plans might be affected. If we could advise two things immediately: share your safety procedures and keep the information coming. We’ve seen a 70% growth in requests from passengers to get access to this information, and 28% requesting a more regular cadence of updates around policy and flight changes.

Part of the challenge has been in passengers feeling that the communication touchpoints themselves have been breaking down. While emails and phone calls are usually the most depended on, the inability to get a quick response in recent weeks has led to a 10% increase in negative passenger perception around these methods. There are only so many times most passengers will sit through a 2-hour wait time before they go elsewhere.

Online and social have never been more important. Websites have taken the top spot as the most important touchpoint in the past 3 months, seeing an 86% growth in passengers mentioning this platform as their main source of information since the start of the pandemic. This naturally has given rise to the use of live chats and by extension social media. Both of these have grown by 354% and 228% respectively in the past three months; a bad chat bot won’t cut it with a passenger needing urgent information.

It isn’t only the timeliness and touchpoints that are vital in rebuilding passenger confidence. Proper tone of voice is essential. We’ve seen 28% more passengers reporting feelings of being skeptical of airline posts that follow the same tone as every other advert on TV. It’s too easy to pander to this messaging. Doing the right thing is harder than just talking about how difficult the times are, but passengers notice and they care. We found that airlines who’ve geared into humanitarian efforts during the pandemic yielded a near 300% increase in positive sentiment.

Passengers are looking to airlines and airports as a source of information, guidance, and most importantly, reassurance. They want their experience to match the communications you’re putting out. In the future, fliers will expect more transparency and visibility. Dodgy chat bots and hours of frustrating hold music aren’t going to win any of the loyalty that’s up for grabs.

David Griffiths,
Head of Insight Fethr
VP Content Black Swan


Natasha Tanzil,
Insight Consultant

Thank you for reading, and for more information or to explore any of the above in any further detail please get in touch with Patrick Prefontaine at patrick.prefontaine@blackswan.com or by using the contact form below.

To find out more

Please get in touch

Covid19 Aviation Report


Please provide your contact information below if you wish to receive marketing communications from us regarding Black Swan news, events, reports and services. You can opt-out at any time. We never sell your personal data to third parties for marketing purposes.

Thank you. Your download should start automatically. If it does not click here.