Research Title: Who’s Flying the Plane? Investigating the Relationship between Consumers and Low Cost Airlines
Research Areas: low-cost airlines, consumer behaviour, airline choice, passenger decision making
Director of Studies: Professor Austin Smyth
Second Supervisor: Dr Nigel Dennis
Starting Date and Mode of Study: 2007 Part-Time
Jane commenced her PhD in the transport studies group at the University of Westminster in October 2007. She holds an undergraduate degree from Sheffield Hallam University, a Masters in Tourism Policy from the University of Birmingham and a PGCE in Higher Education from the University of Wolverhampton. Jane was awarded the Student of Year prize whilst studying for her PGCE in 2005.
Immediately prior to undertaking her PhD, Jane held the position of Programme Manager and Lecturer in Tourism at the University College Birmingham. Jane has also worked actively within the tourism sector holding various positions including the role of cabin crew, a senior courier and customer service assistant for TUI, adding to her knowledge of the UK and international transport and tourism sector.
As the presence of low cost airlines continues to grow and takes on an increasingly significant role within the global aviation sector, this PhD thesis seeks to explore the relationship between consumer behaviour and the business operations of the airlines that arguably seek to offer passengers low cost air travel. The study primarily adopts a UK-based focus, in which relatively little research currently exists, whilst drawing upon examples from a wider context. Social and psychological factors of consumer behaviour are considered in respect of the propensity to travel with an airline and the implications of consumer decision-making from a supply-side viewpoint wherein the business models and networks developed by low cost airlines are explored. It is the intention of the study to add to the behavioural literature on air travel research, whilst formulating a quantitative approach to analysing consumer decision-making and airline choice. The methodology for the study will draw upon existing research within the subject areas of social psychology, tourism and transport amongst others; whilst also adopting a field based approach through the use of case studies, interviews with passengers and statistical analysis of airline services and networks.
Recent Publications, Exhibitions, Presentations
- January 2010 - 42nd UTSG Annual Conference (Plymouth) Exploring the decision making of low-cost airline passengers - A UK-wide survey.
- November 2009 - CAA Lunchtime Seminar (London) Exploring Air Traveller Decision Making.
- October 2009 - European Transport Conference (The Hague). Decisions, decisions…An exploration of the decision-making processes of air travellers through qualitative research and a UK-wide panel survey.
- July 2008 - World Air Transport Research Society (Athens) What is a Low Cost Airline? Defining Carrier Models
- July 2008 - 3rd Kuhmo-Nectar Conference (Amsterdam) What is a low cost airline?
- June 2007 - University of Wolverhampton – Telling More Stories (Real People, Real portfolios) - Using ePortfolios to support the personal and academic development of higher education students
- June 2007 JISC - Innovating e-Learning 2007: Institutional Transformation and Supporting Lifelong Learning
- October 2005 Eifel e-Portfolio 2005 – “e-Portfolio User Testimonies – Student User Case Testimony”
- May 2005 - The Centre for Recording Achievement Goodenough Residential Seminar – “Possibilities for patchwork e-Portfolios. Critical dialogues and reflexivity as strategic acts of interruption”
Teaching and Employment Interests
Jane has previously taught on a range of tourism planning and development modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and has supported students on a one-to-one basis as a support worker. Jane hopes to take up a full-time teaching position on completion of her PhD.