The for individual and independent products (Buhalis

The airline industry is one of the fastest-changing industry sectors in the world today (Kernchen,
2004). Changing market conditions including empowered customers, new distribution channels
and a cogent trend towards disintermediation and re-intermediation constantly forces airlines to
adopt and improve their operations and business models (Shaw, 2011; Kossmann 2006). Advances in
the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) contributed to the empowerment of
customers who became more experienced, sophisticated and striving for individual and independent
products (Buhalis & Law, 2008). The two authors conclude that in the tourism industry “the key
success lies in quick identification of consumer needs and in reaching potential clients with
comprehensive, personalized and up-to-date products and services that satisfy those needs”. This
statement and the fact that so far there has been little discussion on passenger behavior support the
need for further investigation. The aim is to detect how potential clients get information about an
airline, which information and booking channels they prefer and which attributes of the airline
product are most important for them. This paper aims to specifically explore the decision making
process of passengers. The consideration of information channels, booking channels and the
evaluation process of the airline product are to be examined in this research.
With regards to the organization of this paper, a division into seven parts was chosen. A brief
introduction of the development of civil aviation in general emphasizes how fast market conditions
changed. This section will further explore the impact of technologies and regulations and the ways in
which airlines have adapted their business models throughout the years. Section 2 carefully analyzes
the nature of the airline product aiming to accurately state which elements it comprises. An analysis
was carried out in light of the extended marketing mix for services. The third section outlines basic
theories on the science of consumer behavior and explores the consumer decision making process
that served as a foundation for the research conducted. While the historic, the marketing and
consumer behavior sections (3 & 4) are generally relevant for an investigation of any airline, the main
section (5) of the literature part is a detailed analysis of the Arabian airline Emirates, which covers
the development of Emirates and a critical evaluation of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats based on up-to-the-minute information. The research part examines how Emirates
reaches their customers, which information and booking channels passengers prefer and how they
perceive the importance of product attributes that Emirates offers. The conclusion combines findings
from the empirical research conducted in this thesis and the literature review.