The task is to find a suitable flight. We see that this usually takes several attempts and is achieved with the help of different search platforms and flight brokers. This shows that we are clearly in a weighing phase when searching for a flight. Different flights, routes, and times are weighed against travel planning criteria as well as personal preferences and limiting factors of the traveler.
Factors respondents considered to be more important when it comes to choosing an airline following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. (Source: Statista, 2022)
Intention of use
The . The better we tailor our interface to the intention of use, the higher the probability that the interaction will be successful. Research findings show that usage intentions for digital applications can be assigned to : “Act,” “Understand,” and “Explore.” In our case, we can clearly attribute the flight search to the “Act” usage intention: users have a specific task and want to make progress in completing that task as quickly as possible. Flight search is characterized by a clear goal. Travelers want to get an overview of the available flights to find the best option for their specific solution space. They take a structured approach and selectively change search parameters to uncover inconsistencies and explore the limits of what is available.
Dimensions to classify the intention of use.
Changing various parameters shows that the solution space for this task is multi-dimensional. And not just that, on closer inspection, it becomes clear that a flight search is a hierarchical step process. We assume that decision-making tasks are sequential. The traveler works his way from decision level to decision level. All levels of the flight search are causally related.
Analytic Hierarchy Process of flight search decision-making.
Flight search is inextricably linked to flight booking, which in turn is linked to travel to and from the destination. The primary goal of travelers is “to arrive.” Here, we observe the same causal relationship that we have already seen with the success factors. We are also dealing with a hierarchical step process. This means that before they start looking for a flight, travelers have already considered the destination, the time of travel, the duration of the trip, and the travel costs. Travelers, therefore, usually have a kind of hidden agenda, which they consciously or subconsciously review in the course of their flight search.
Analytic Hierarchy Process of travel decision-making. (Source: Fakultät für Gesellschaftswissenschaften der Universität Duisburg — Essen, 2003)