Incentives for Desired Behavior a Reward for Airlines

Incentives for Desired Behavior a Reward for Airlines

by | Jul 9, 2024 | 0 comments

Fostering Growth, Innovation, and Sustainability in Airline Operations

Incentives for Desired Behavior a Reward for Airlines

Why Creating Incentives for Desired Behavior is More Rewarding for Airlines

Creating incentives for desired behavior in airlines can be highly rewarding as it leads to improved efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction. The literature reveals diverse strategies to achieve these outcomes. For instance, Rhodes (2015) highlights the use of financial incentives to encourage healthy behaviors, which could be analogous to encouraging passengers to engage in cost-saving behaviors like purchasing tickets early or choosing off-peak travel times. Similarly, the patent by Li et al. (2018) describes a system that automates passenger transport promotion incentives, enhancing efficiency and reducing human costs. Kalyanaraman et al. (2017) discuss a verifiable reward system for influencing travel patterns, which could help airlines manage peak loads and optimize resource usage. One strategic approach that has proven more rewarding is creating incentives for the behavior they want from their employees and customers, rather than imposing penalties for undesirable behavior. Here’s why this method is more effective and beneficial for airlines:

Positive Reinforcement of Desired Behavior Builds Loyalty

Incentives foster a culture of positivity. When employees and customers are rewarded for exhibiting the desired behavior, they are more likely to repeat it. For employees, this can mean enhanced job satisfaction and a stronger commitment to the airline. For customers, it translates to increased loyalty and repeat business. Positive reinforcement helps create an emotional connection, making employees feel valued and customers feel appreciated.

Boosts Employee Morale and Productivity

Offering incentives such as bonuses, recognition programs, or additional benefits for exemplary performance boosts employee morale. Happy and motivated employees are more productive, provide better service, and contribute to a more pleasant travel experience for passengers. A motivated workforce is the backbone of efficient and effective airline operations.

Encourages Proactive Customer Behavior

Incentives can be powerful tools in encouraging customers to adopt desired behavior that benefits the airline. For instance, offering frequent flyer miles for booking flights early or discounts for using online check-in services can streamline operations and reduce costs. Customers who feel they are getting rewarded for their actions are more likely to comply with airline policies and procedures voluntarily.

Reduces Operational Costs

Penalties can often lead to customer dissatisfaction, disputes, and a potential loss of business. On the other hand, incentives encourage compliance without the negative repercussions associated with punitive measures. This can lead to smoother operations, fewer conflicts, and ultimately, reduced operational costs. For instance, incentivizing on-time check-ins or baggage compliance can minimize delays and improve turnaround times.

Enhances Brand Image and Desired Behavior

An airline that rewards positive behavior is perceived more favorably than one that frequently imposes penalties. This positive perception can enhance the airline’s brand image, attracting more customers and potentially leading to better market positioning. A strong, positive brand image is crucial in the highly competitive airline industry, where customer perception can significantly impact business success.

Promotes a Positive Workplace Culture

Incentives contribute to a positive workplace culture where employees are encouraged to strive for excellence. This culture not only enhances productivity but also attracts top talent who want to work in an environment where their efforts are recognized and rewarded. A positive workplace culture is essential for long-term success and sustainability in the airline industry.

Rewarding Desired Behavior Encourages Innovation and Improvement

When employees know that innovative ideas and improvements will be rewarded, they are more likely to think creatively and come up with solutions that can benefit the airline. This culture of innovation can lead to operational efficiencies, cost savings, and enhanced customer experiences. Incentivizing improvement encourages a continuous cycle of growth and development within the airline.


Creating incentives for the behavior airlines want from their employees and customers is a more rewarding strategy than imposing penalties for undesirable behavior. This approach not only fosters loyalty boosts morale, and encourages proactive behavior but also reduces operational costs, enhances brand image, promotes a positive workplace culture, and encourages innovation. By focusing on positive reinforcement, airlines can build a more loyal customer base and a more motivated workforce, leading to sustainable success and growth in the highly competitive aviation industry.


Kalyanaraman, S., Ravindranath, K., & Steer, K. (2017, July 6). Verifiable reward system for influencing human travel patterns.

Minghui, L., Zheng, Z., Di, Y., Jingjing, L., Zhongwei, W., Shuang, S., & Tianyu, Z. (2018). Passenger transport promotion incentive management system and method of airline. SciSpace – Paper.

Rhodes, R. (2015). Incentives for Healthy Behavior. Hastings Center Report, 45(3), inside back cover-inside back cover.

About the Author

Shadrach Swante Kambai

Flight Operations Consultant, Aviation Data Analyst, Business Developer (

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