What's expected to be a growing number of Asian air travelers over the next few decades means these up-and-coming fliers will have more say over the future of economy-class travel. What do they want? The most comfortable seats possible with mood lighting and quiet zones so they can sleep and relax.
Asia will account for 45% of global air passengers by 2032, and these passengers will be young (18 to 34) and affluent, according to an Airbus study released Thursday.
"The voice of the Asian passenger is fast becoming the dominant voice in the aviation industry and will dictate the future of flight," Kevin Keniston, described as Airbus' head of passenger comfort, said in a statement.
Social media and online shared travel experiences have ratcheted up expectations of new Asian travelers about cool services and add-ons. The trends based on these demands include Wi-Fi with phone and conference call centers 24/7, 3-D TV on in-flight entertainment, and cabin areas with amenities (mood lighting, air quality, etc.) that encourage relaxation.
Why the accent on unwinding instead of work? "Asian passengers believe that the chance to rest on a flight unlocks higher levels of productivity, as opposed to the Western view of seeing this time as a chance to catch up on work," the study said. So a good flight is one in which relaxation (78%) and sleep (58%) are valued over work (56%).