The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the results of its 2018 Global Passenger Survey (GPS), which showed that passengers are looking to new technology to give them more control, information and improve efficiency when they travel.
Based on 10,408 responses from 145 countries, the survey provides insight into what passengers would like from their air travel experience. Passengers told us that they want:
Real-time journey information delivered to their personal devices
Biometric identification to facilitate their travel processes
Automation of more airport processes
Wait times of less than 10 minutes at security/immigration
Their bags tracked throughout their journey
A human touch when things go wrong
Real-Time Journey Information
Passengers want to be kept informed throughout their journey preferably via their personal device.
Receiving information on flight status (82%), baggage (49%) and waiting time at security / immigration (46%) were identified as passengers’ top three priorities after booking a flight.
Real-time baggage tracking throughout the journey was seen as a must for 56% of passengers. Airlines and airports are facilitating this by implementing tracking at major journey points such as loading and unloading (IATA Resolution 753). The industry is also working on developing a global readiness plan for the proposed introduction of RFID inlays in all baggage tags manufactured after January 2020 in order to meet passenger expectations for real time baggage tracking.
Passengers’ preferred option for receiving information on their baggage and other travel elements was via their mobile device. Receiving information via SMS or Smartphone app was preferred by 73% of passengers. Since 2016 there has been a 10% increase in passengers preferring to receive travel information via a smartphone app.
Digital is Preferred but Privacy Concerns Increase
The majority of passengers (65%) are willing to share personal data for expedited security and 45% are willing to replace their passports with biometric identification.
IATA’s One ID project aims to move passengers from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token (fingerprint, face or iris). But concerns over data protection must be addressed.
“As we move more and more towards digital processes, passengers need to be confident that their personal data is safe. IATA is working to establish a trust framework that ensures secure data sharing, legal compliance and privacy,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
The Human Touch Still Important
Passengers want more self-service options. Automated check-in was preferred by 84% of passengers. Most (47%) prefer to check in online using a smartphone. Only 16% preferred traditional check-in.
Some 70% of passengers want self-service baggage check-in. Only one in three travellers prefers an agent to tag their bag. The electronic bag tag is growing in popularity – favored by 39% of passengers (up 8 percentage points from 2017).
The overall experience with automated immigration procedures was rated favorably by 74% of passengers. A similar percentage (72%) believe that automated immigration processes are faster and 65% believe they enhance security.
The human touch is still preferred by some market segments and for certain situations. For example, senior travelers (65 years and older) have a strong preference for traditional check-in (25% vs global 17%) and bag-drop processes (42% vs global 32%). And when there are travel disruptions 40% of all age groups of passengers want to resolve the situation over the phone and 37% via face-to-face interaction.
Consistent Shopping Experience
Some 43% of passengers prefer to use a travel agency, travel management company or corporate travel department to book their flights.
IATA’s Airline New Distribution Capability (NDC) is playing a transformational role in evolving the customer air travel shopping experience and closing the content gap between airline websites and travel agent systems through use of a modern (internet) data transmission standard for communications between airlines and travel agents. NDC will enable airlines to display and sell all of their products in the travel agent channel, including options to allow passengers to personalize their journey around their needs.
Passenger Pain Points
Passengers identified airport security / border control and boarding processes as two of their biggest pain points when travelling. The top frustrations with security were the intrusiveness of having to remove personal items (57%) the removal of laptops / large electronic devices from cabin bags (48%) and the lack of consistency in screening procedures at different airports (41%).
To improve the boarding experience, the top three desires of passengers are more efficient queuing at boarding gates (64%), the availability of overhead space on the aircraft (42%), and not having to queue on the air bridge (33%).
“The GPS tells us that passengers want a seamless and secure travel experience from booking to arrival. Airports and airlines are eager to meet evolving passenger expectations. But making the right strategic choices among all the potential innovations is not an easy task. And aligning those choices into a seamless curb-to-gate experience needs a common vision. That’s why we have joined forces with Airports Council International (ACI) in the NEXTT Project (New Experience in Travel and Technologies),” said Careen.
To access the full GPS 2018 report and the highlights, visit www.iata.org/gps