Forget about queues, delayed flights and lost luggage, nearly two thirds of frequent flyers from Singapore (67 per cent) and more than half from Hong Kong (53 per cent), agree that the airport is something to be enjoyed, according to a study, published today by Priority Pass, the world’s largest independent airport lounge access programme.

Frequent flyers from Singapore enjoy the airport experience more than any other country, with a further 74 per cent of from Singapore and 56 per cent from Hong Kong even admitting that they would be encouraged to arrive at the airport early to take advantage of duty free and shopping discounts. The study of almost 3,000 respondents in Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, US, the UK, Germany and France reveals unusually positive attitudes when it comes to the airport experience.

Retail Therapy at the Airport

The Priority Pass Airport Experience Survey sheds new light on the behaviours of consumers at the airport. Nearly three quarters of respondents (72 per cent) from Singapore, and two thirds from Hong Kong (66 per cent) agree that they like to access a bargain at the airport with 33 per cent and 35 per cent respectively looking for something luxurious that they would not ordinarily buy. The latter reinforces the previous identification of an emerging group of travelers, ‘The Conspicuous Consumer’, keen to show their status, seeking luxury at affordable prices and keen to share their exclusive experiences with friends.

Stephen Simpson, global marketing director for Priority Pass, part of Collinson Group says, “We are witnessing an important shift in mind-set when it comes to the airport experience and it is clear that today’s frequent flyers, particularly those in Hong Kong and Singapore, no longer view themselves as passengers merely transiting the airport but as consumers seeking more rewarding travel journeys.”

The Airport Lounge as a Sanctuary

The airport does not simply provide an opportune moment for last minute shopping; for business flyers it has become a sanctuary ahead of a long flight thanks to the convenience of the airport lounge. Nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of global frequent business flyers consider access to a premium airport lounge to be an ‘important’ or ‘very important’ factor when selecting an airport, with 40 per cent admitting to going straight to the lounge and avoiding the shops altogether.

Simpson adds: “An increasing number of organisations are starting to recognise the value that can be gained if the experience of flying for business is not unduly stressful. Our research found that 67 per cent of frequent business flyers actively enjoy the airport experience in Singapore, well ahead of the global average of 53 per cent. This is a high percentage when you consider the fact that the business flyer is traveling for work purposes and does not have the relaxation of a typical leisure trip to look forward to on arrival. The airport lounge clearly has an important role to play here, with those in Hong Kong and Singapore clearly leading the way, offering a rare moment of tranquillity or the ability to stay connected in a peaceful and convenient environment.”

The Rise of the Digital Flyer

The study also shed insight into the rise of the ‘digital’ flyer with nearly three quarters of frequent flyers from Hong Kong (73 per cent) and over half from Singapore (53 per cent) wanting to receive information from an airport over a mobile app, in contrast to the global average of 51 per cent. There is clearly a growing impetus to provide a seamless digital experience at airports, driving new levels of customer service, while reducing the stress of travel and providing a more personalised and intuitive passenger experience.