Travel Habits and Loyalty Shaped by Age and Disruption, OAG Survey Reveals

Baby Boomers Value Programs, Gen Z Seeks Variety & Disruptions Impact All with 82% of Travelers Prioritizing On-Time Performance 

CHICAGO - June 1, 2023 - There is a generational divide when it comes to how factors like schedules, destination options, disruptions and delays impact travelers’ brand loyalty and booking habits, according to OAG’s latest survey, Loyalty & Disruption: The New Age of Travel. The survey, which includes insights from 2,000 travelers between the ages of 18 to 60-plus, suggests that while older travelers largely remain loyal to their preferred airline, younger generations are more likely to choose brands based on costs and on-time performance.

In the past year, Baby Boomers remained the most brand loyal, with only 15% switching airline loyalties. Millennials are the least brand loyal, with 47% switching airline loyalties. When it comes to cost, Gen Z (77%) are the most likely to change airline preferences to find flights that suit their budget, followed by Gen X (69%), Millennials (59%) and Baby Boomers (47%). 

On-time performance also plays a defining role in loyalty, with 36% of all travelers saying it is the number one reason for their continued loyalty to their preferred carrier. OAG found that when cost and schedule options are relatively equal, punctuality is the biggest differentiator, with 82% percent of all travelers, and 91% of Gen Z, saying that on-time performance affects the flight and/or airline they book with. 

Other traveler preferences that influence loyalty include:

  • Status and frequent flier programs are tied with on-time performance as the number one reason 25% of Baby Boomers have remained brand loyal.
  • Thirty-four percent of Baby Boomers and 46% of Gen Z have changed their preferred airline to access more schedules and destination options. 
  • Thirty-seven percent of all travelers changed their airline loyalty due to having experienced significant delays or cancellations in the past year. Millennials were the most impacted, with 42% switching their airline loyalty because of a significant delay or cancellation.
  • When it comes to climate impact, Millennials (20%) are the most driven by sustainability when selecting flights, compared to Baby Boomers (1%). 

“Travelers across every generation are making it known that winning their loyalty will require a radically different approach,” said John Grant, chief analyst at OAG. “Understanding how to cater to various age groups, while addressing their widely shared concerns, is critical for airlines, airports, and travel and tech providers across the industry to win and maintain the loyalty of future generations.”

OAG makes it possible for businesses across the entire travel ecosystem – booking engines, travel and hospitality apps, airline apps, online travel agencies, metasearch, search engines and flight tracking apps – to meet the needs of today’s travelers and their unique preferences. 

OAG surveyed travelers who have flown in the past year and users of OAG’s flight tracking app, Flightview by OAG.

For the full survey insights, view the report now

Contact Information: 

Chrissy Azevedo
Corporate Ink for OAG