Report: Transparency Begets Conversion for Airline Ticketing

June 21, 2012

For a majority of U.S. consumers (53 percent), the most important factor in the airline ticketing experience is clear pricing, according to a new report from e-commerce payment processor WorldPay. The report, Perfect Passenger Payment , concluded airlines could increase conversion rates if they handled surcharges with more transparency.

The report found that while nearly a quarter of prospective travelers abandon shopping carts during online flight purchases, the reason why is perceived very differently by consumers and the airlines. More than half of airlines think consumers abandon their purchase because their payment was declined while only 7 percent of consumers claim this caused them to abandon a purchase. More than one-third of consumers said being presented with hidden surcharges led them to halting a purchase, whereas only 6 percent of airlines felt surcharges were a factor.

“In terms of minimizing purchase abandonment, airlines are fuelling customer frustrations by not clearly stating surcharge costs,” says Phil McGriskin, chief product officer for WorldPay. “On average, consumers recognize that a proportion of their airline cost will include a surcharge percentage but consumers feel they are being misled right up until the point at which they need to pay. If airlines are prepared to be more transparent about additional costs, they could actually see an upturn in the number of customers that complete the payment process.”

WorldPay also found that alternative payments and mobile payments are gaining momentum in the industry. Eighty-four percent of merchants plan to offer more payment alternatives in the next two years and 58 percent of consumers said they would like to use their mobile device to pay for a flight. WorldPay surveyed 4,500 consumers and 51 airlines in nine developed countries for the report.