Holiday air travel continues to increase each year, with Airlines 4 America (A4A) anticipating an astounding 45.2 million passengers flying globally this holiday season, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.
The 17-day travel window leading up to Christmas through the New Year is the peak for flight delays. And with so many people planning to travel, the TSA is working hard to mitigate those tiresome security wait times which frustrate passengers more than any other part of the travel process, with 39 percent of passengers feeling negative emotions while going through security.
But change is coming. SITA’s Americas President Randy Pizzi states that frustrations among both passengers and the air transport industry are being answered with technology, which helps airports and airlines effectively and safely process passengers, planes and bags. “Airports and airlines face the challenge of getting passengers and their bags through the airport and to their destination both safely and efficiently, especially during the holiday season when passenger volume increases so significantly. Self-service solutions, baggage management technology and queuing solutions at security checkpoints can help alleviate the stress for all parties involved,” says Pizzi.
Airports such as Phoenix Sky Harbor and Orlando International Airport have implemented smart technology, which makes accurate TSA Checkpoint wait time information available on monitors at airports and on websites so passengers can plan their journey. It also predicts wait times, allowing airports to staff up during busy times. At Orlando International Airport, wait times of 15 minutes or more have dropped by 53 percent since implementation.
From an operational standpoint, baggage management and tracking solutions, such as SITA BagJourney, provide a precise picture of a bag’s current location, no matter how many airlines or airports handle it, which is vital when considering missed connections and delayed flights during the holidays. The ability to track bags at every stage helps reduce mishandling and delays, overall, as well.
“We encourage airlines and airports alike to continue implementing innovative solutions over the next few months so that the 2017 high travel seasons see a real turn around,” says Pizzi.