Inflight Catering Services to the Millennials: An Imminent Generational Change Looms

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

With the upcoming opportunities, the influx of creative service deliveries, essential marketing trends and most importantly the prospective profitability landmarked in the aviation world according to the several aviation and business reports. Aviation firms are leaving no crevices for the void to flow with the tides and enjoy the as many benefits the current happenings in the market, as well as the remarkable expectation of the future hold for them. Many firms have started repackaging and rebranding their service delivery to suit the market drivers as well as meet market challenges. Several market characteristics have lately been put into consideration for services segmentation and comparison analysis to attract more sales and build incredible business reputations, with no firm ready to lose its stance (market share) in the market if at all it is not able to progress beyond them. From the bargaining powers of buyers and suppliers to the threats of new entrants, substitutes, rivalry and market conditions, forces deciding income flow into each firm has been under real watch and scrutiny for profit maximization and considerations.

Aviation firms provide many creative and appealing services to their passengers in order to keep them faithful to their patronage. This among many others is the inflight catering services. Inflight catering services has attracted more interest recently than in the past with several analysts’ forecasts predicting inflight catering service market growth at a CAGR of 6.41 percent between this year and 2022. This technically has to do with provision of quality and hygienic meals to onboard air passengers in par with the international food safety and security standards, but now even much more. This may apply preventive procedures like the HACCP in order to ensure that passengers have safe and healthy flights, and in most distinctive approach, may mean special care for certain category of passengers, especially the millennial. Whichever way, the expected growth in the inflight catering market is an indication of opportunities to exploit for airline caterers, and at most airline firms.

Who are the millennial?

Stills have never met birth globally. The world records four births each second of everyday. Times after times, and year after year, new generations are given birth to, and they surpass the older generations as times goes by. However, each generation comes with their naming, nature, and characteristics. Such is it when some sections of the global population are referred to as the millennials. They are the generation of children given birth to between 1982 and 2002, and the same generation to replace the Baby-boomers as they retire. They are characteristically different from generations before them and owing to this; every sector is having to change their business cultures to suit them. This is because they have grown up in a society that is characteristically distinct from others, as they have been plugged into technology since they were infants. They are perhaps the most scheduled generation ever, true multi-taskers, and are attracted to diverse environments. They are purely different people, and now the workforce is wondering how to motivate and meet the expectations of this generation. The aviation world is thus not left out.

Inflight Catering Services to the Millennials

Judging by statistics from authorities including the population projections made by the US Census Bureau, the generation of millennial are on the cusp of beating the babyboomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation. As at 2016, these generation is said to be between 20 and 35 years of age (71 million of US population) compared to the babyboomers’ 52 and 70 years (74 million of the US population). However, they are expected to overtake the boomer’s statistics in 2019 by a population of 73 million while the boomers are expected to go on a decline to 72 million. It is thus estimated that by 2028, the generations of millennial would be well above that of boomers. Expectedly, with immigration adding more numbers to the millennial group than any other, their population is projected to peak in 2036 at 76.2 million. The oldest Millennial after this period will be at least 56 years of age, and with mortality expected to outweigh net immigration, there will be a projected 74.3 million Millennial around 2050.

Going by these statistics, the next ten years and more will see the millennial dominate airline travel as both passengers and workers as they would arguably be the greatest share of not just the US population but the global population. It is therefore pertinent for aviation firms to suit their working operation and services to these peoples’ taste and lifestyle if their potentials would be harnessed, thoroughly maximized and their satisfaction will be prioritized as passengers.

Because the millennials are different from earlier generations being that their lives are saturated and deeply submerged in technology, Meccti is concerned that the aviation world will have to shift its companies’ culture by redesigning products and services as well as adopting new changes and fluid sales channel to resonate with the increasingly important group. It is convinced that inflight catering services’ quality and effectiveness would no longer be quantified by serving quality and hygienic meals alone anymore. Instead, it would be about how innovations, technology, and creativity have added to travel experience to give their passengers maximum satisfaction.

Expectedly, few aviation firms are incorporating the needed changes already in anticipation of the dominance of the millennial generations. For instance, Air France new low-cost subsidiary (Joon) offer of global travel experience as opposed the ‘usual’ and ‘just a flight and fare’ sends a message. The lesson appears a rebranding technique which goes deeper than a chic uniform, and an inflight entertainment studded with connectivity offering. Having realized that the millennial generation almost moves around glued to their phones, they have ensured that all seats are equipped with a USB port to allow inflight charging of their personal electronic devices. Not just this, passengers can now pay for whatever they consume by pairing their mobile devices to the seatback inflight entertainment system. Via the new system, millennials are also able to share their inflight experience, and therefore more sales are attracted to their airline.

Delta Airline has also borrowed leaves from these discoveries to realize millennials tend to prefer experiences rather than tangible goods. This way, it has resulted in placing much emphasis on the provision of IFC (Inflight Connectivity) with over 1000 planes already equipped to take business away from its competitors that are offering slow and unreliable Wi-Fi connectivity or none at all. Jetblue Airways have become famous for quality inflight internet as well. American airways preceding its seatback screens for internet connectivity is also a distinct influence. All points a finger to the fact that the new generation of air travelers are being prepared for knowing fully well that satisfying them wouldn’t be about the good meals they eat during their flights anymore, but more importantly, the awesome experience they have and share. Therefore, millennial inflight catering services mean a generational change in the ‘usual’ working of the aviation firms.

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