Air travelers have identified airport security screening process and delays as the two of their biggest pain points when travelling.
The passengers, in 2019 Global Passenger Survey released yesterday, showed passengers’ demand for more technology to improve their travel experience, and in turn, loyalty to airlines and destinations.
According to the survey, having to remove personal items was identified as a pain point by 60 per cent of the travelers. About 48 per cent complained about the removal of laptops and large electronic devices, while 41 per cent frowned at variations in screening processes at different airports.
To improve the boarding experience, 60 per cent of passengers sought more efficient queuing at the boarding gate. About 51 per cent sought not needing to get a bus to the aircraft, and 46 per cent asked for more bin space for cabin luggage.
To improve the connection experience, the top three desires from travelers are: not having to go through security at the transfer airport (60 per cent), not having to pick up and reclaim their bag at the transfer airport (59 per cent), and not having to pass immigration at the transfer airport (55 per cent).
The survey further showed that 80 per cent of passengers want to wait no longer than three minutes to drop off a bag. This increased to 10 minutes for queuing at immigration or customs for 79 per cent of travellers. And only two per cent would accept a waiting time longer than 20 minutes.
Passengers, about 74 per cent of them, also want to wait no longer than 10 minutes for baggage delivery. And almost none wants to wait longer than 20 minutes. The survey found that for nearly three quarters of passengers, speed was the main benefit of using automated immigration gates or kiosks. A similar number, 72 per cent, gave the overall experience of automated immigration processing a thumb up.
The 2019 survey results were based on 10,877 responses from passengers across 166 countries. The survey, courtesy of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), acts as the voice of the passenger, providing objective and in-depth insights into the preferences and behaviours of air travelers around the world, therefore, helping to guide industry initiatives.
The focus of the survey was on processes and technology in the travel experience, not airline or airport service levels.
Passengers also want onboard Wi-Fi. Some 53 per cent of surveyed passengers found Wi-Fi important to have. The importance is the highest in Africa (71 per cent), Latin America (68 per cent) and the Middle East (67 per cent) and the lowest in Europe (44 per cent) and North America (49 per cent).
With availability of Wi-Fi connectivity continuing to have a direct impact on the overall travel experience, adopting the latest onboard Wi-Fi technology continues to be an effective way for airlines to distinguish their product offering.
The survey further found that 70 per cent of passengers are willing to share additional personal information including their biometric identifiers to speed up processes at the airport. This increases in correlation with the number of flights taken per year. The highest support for this (76 per cent) is among fliers who travel for business, more than 10 times per year.
In addition, 46 per cent of passengers would prefer to use biometric identification instead of a paper passport for their journey and 30 per cent would opt to use a biometric token to board the plane.
These findings lend strong support to IATA’s One ID project, which aims to create a paperless airport experience for passengers where they can move from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token such as a face, fingerprint or iris scan.
IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said passengers were willing to share more personal information, if it removes hassle from their travel experience.
“But it’s clear that concerns over data privacy remain. While the majority of passengers want to use biometric identification instead of a paper passport, 53 per cent of those that did not, said they were concerned about the security of their data. Passengers need to be confident that their data is safe,” he said.
IATA Senior Vice President Airport Passenger Cargo and Security, Nick Careen, added that passengers were looking to technology to improve their travel experience, and “that is what we are trying to deliver in cooperation with airports.”
“Through our New Experience in Travel and Technologies (NEXTT) initiative with Airports Council International (ACI) we aim to deliver a seamless curb-to-gate experience for passengers. But industry can’t achieve this alone. Government support is essential to create the correct regulatory environment so the industry can fully transform.”