Airlines Cash In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — One of the biggest changes in the travel industry is that more and more travelers are taking a break from the air, according to the latest industry survey from TNS Travel.
As airlines continue to face increasing costs and other challenges, flexible work arrangements for passengers have become more commonplace, said the online travel-management company. According to TNS Travel, 53.2% of travelers ages 18-35 say they would be willing to change the way they travel with the airline if it increased its flex-work options.
One reason, the survey says, is that travelers believe in flexible work, even when it isn’t available to them – 54.4% of travelers say they would be willing to switch companies to a company that has flexible work options.
“As an industry, we are trying to adapt to a changing business environment,” said Tom Sullivan, director of consumer and industry research for TNS Travel. “Travelers want to work flexibly more than ever, but they’re also more aware of the challenges that airlines are facing.”
But a growing number of travelers believe there is a financial incentive for airlines to cut costs and offer more flexible work arrangements, the survey says.
Nearly 70% of travelers believe that airlines have lost money on flexible work arrangements, compared with 64% a year ago, the survey says.
But even in the face of rising costs and other challenges, airlines seem to be making inroads. Almost two thirds of consumers who will travel next year say they expect airlines to offer more flexible work arrangements. And nearly all of those who are willing to travel in the next year say they are willing to switch airlines if given the opportunity.
The survey suggests that this might be one of the key reasons for the latest round of mergers and acquisitions that have been taking place in the airline industry in recent months.
Flexible work arrangements are just one example of the airline industry’s attempt to keep costs down. Another recent move that has the airline industry worried is