Airline Passenger Experience

The Problem

PWD are becoming one of the largest demographics in air travel. Approximately 40% of seniors board an aircraft every year, many of whom have disabilities. Maximizing the experience of PWD is essential to maximize revenue in a competitive aviation environment while remaining in compliance with regulations and limiting public relations risk from accessibility failures.

Despite the growing number of PWD travellers, their travel experience is poorly understood. The lack of data has made prioritizing different accessibility features difficult, while often conflating regulation with positive passenger experience.

Understanding passenger journey of PWD – from booking tickets, through flights, to deplaning

Identification of positive processes to scale, and pain points to address, throughout customer journey

Identifying opportunities to collaborate with airport partners to maximize passenger experience while growing revenue for all

Identifying areas where accessibility failures create flight disruptions and delays

What We Delivered

To address these questions, RoDG had 80 PWD engage in “secret shopper” flights across over 200 flight segments. Passengers were given minimal direction, so as to ensure they would travel as they normally would and would have to find relevant accessibility information for themselves. Passengers participated in focus groups, completed user diaries, and responded to a survey.

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PWD on Board

End-to-end user testing of entire flight experience, from booking tickets, to passage through airports, flights, deplaning, and collecting baggage.

In-Flight Experience

Specific users instructed to attempt little-advertised accessibility programs within aviation.

Have Documentation Ready

All users participated in focus groups or interviews, completed a user diary, and completed a custom-designed survey.

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The Sky is the Limit

Combined, this is the largest disability market study in aviation ever completed in North America.



PWD passengers are frequently unaware of services targeting disability. This is caused by a relentless industry focus on poor regulation, as opposed to passenger experience. This segmentation of process into PWD and non-PWD creates passenger experience failures with high potential for missed revenue, flight delays and higher operating costs.

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Which Way to Best?

Most disabled passengers are unaware of the full range of accessibility options available during their experience.

Improvements Ready for Take-off

Experience (and process) failures, especially with mobility devices, cause flight delays and significant loss of revenue.

Low Ceiling Ahead

Self-serve options for passengers managing vision issues are rarely used, even if known, creating a poor experience investment.

Before the Gates

Most determinants of poor flight experience occur prior to boarding – creating opportunities for collaboration with airport authorities tied to revenue drivers of both airlines and airports.