Passenger satisfaction is higher during the airline journey when self-service technologies are used, particularly at bag tag and collection, and passport checkpoints. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released today by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World. The survey shows that passengers rate their journey very highly with an overall satisfaction rate of 8.2 of out 10 but this is boosted even further when technologies such as mobile services and biometrics are used.
Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said: “Passengers are increasingly comfortable with the use of technology in their everyday lives, and they are demanding more services as they appreciate the benefits technology can bring to their journey. Airports and airlines can take note that technology solutions can boost passenger satisfaction every step of the way.”
In the global air transport industry, identity checks are a vital element of the passenger journey. SITA’s survey shows that technology, such as biometrics, can support security while offering a better passenger experience. Automated identity checks at passport control and boarding increases passenger satisfaction.
A total of 37% of travelers surveyed by SITA used automated ID control on their last flight. Of these, 55% said they had used biometrics at departure security, 33% for boarding and 12% for international arrivals. Looking forward, 57% of passengers said they would use biometrics for their next trip.
Passengers who use biometrics are highly satisfied. In fact, they rated the experience 8.4, well above the ratings for face-to-face transactions at passport check (8) and boarding (8.2), demonstrating passenger acceptance of this secure technology to deliver a seamless journey.
Baggage collection is another area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information to passengers. On their last flight, more than half (58%) of passengers who checked in bags received real-time bag-collection information upon arrival.
These passengers were happier than those who did not receive any information, rating their experience 8.4 out 10. Passengers are even more satisfied when they receive the information to their mobile devices. SITA’s survey shows that this bumped up satisfaction levels by an extra 10%.
Technology is also driving passenger satisfaction for baggage management earlier in the journey as more airlines and airports offer self-bag tagging. The use of this technology increased satisfaction to a rating of 8.4 out of 10. Nearly half (47%) of all passengers took advantage of a self-service tagging option on their most recent trip, which is a healthy increase from 31% in 2016. As more self-bag tag options are made available we can expect passenger satisfaction at this point of the journey to increase.
This year’s survey also highlights that as passengers become more familiar using technology during travel, the more likely they are to switch to newer, more efficient platforms. They are increasingly using smarter, mobile-enabled websites to book and check-in. Airline and airport apps, meanwhile, meet passengers’ desire for new services to help them better manage their journey. They want personalized information about their flight, their baggage and how to find their gate directly on their mobile device.
The appetite for new services using technology is high: three quarters (74%) of passengers say they would definitely use flight and gate alerts pushed to their mobile devices; 57% would use airport wayfinding; and 57% would use biometrics to smooth identification each step of the way.
Gutlin said: “Passengers aren’t deciding anymore whether they should use technology but which technology to use. They want to make each step of the journey as easy as possible. Tech adoption will be driven by both context and usability. For this reason, a clear focus on the end-users’ demands should shape the services airlines and airports offer.”
This is the 12th edition of the SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey. It was conducted with more than 7,000 passengers from 17 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa representing almost three-quarters of global passenger traffic.