IATA’s 2019 Global Passenger Survey results show that top passenger priorities include:
- Having more personal control over their journey via their smartphone
- Being able to use biometric identification to speed up travel processes
- Tracking their baggage
- Waiting no more than 10 minutes for baggage collection and immigration / customs
- Having access to Wi-Fi onboard
An airline app is the preferred method of booking for passengers from North Asia although, globally, booking through an airline website remains the method of choice for most travelers. Using a smartphone was also identified by more than half of passengers (51%) as their preferred method of check-in. This was a 4% increase over 2018.
Passengers have told us that they are looking to technology to improve their travel experience, but industry can’t achieve this alone. Government support is essential
Most passengers (72%) also want to be kept informed throughout their journey via travel notifications sent to their personal device. Negotiating airport processes is important with 45% of passengers wanting to know wait times at security and border control and 37% wanting to know wait times at customs.
The survey found that 70% 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.
Securing the data will be vital. IATA is working on a trust framework that ensures that stakeholders have access to passenger data on an authorized, need-to-know basis only and that there are exception processes in place for those who do not want to share their biometric data.
In terms of bag tracking, more than half of passengers (53%) are more likely to check their bag if they are able to track it throughout the journey. And the 2019 GPS also indicated that 80% of passengers want to wait no longer than three minutes to drop off a bag. This increased to 10 minutes for queuing at immigration/customs for 79% of travelers. Only 2% would accept a waiting time longer than 20 minutes. Some 72% gave the overall experience of automated immigration processing a thumbs up.
As for onboard Wi-Fi, 53% of surveyed passengers said it was important to have.
Many of the identified demands of passengers are covered by the New Experience in Travel and Technologies (NEXTT) initiative. The goal of NEXTT is finding ways to integrate systems and improve operations in the most secure, effective, and sustainable manner for the benefit of passengers and the industry.
“Passengers have told us that they are looking to technology to improve their travel experience,” said Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President Airport Passenger Cargo & Security. “That is what we are trying to deliver in cooperation with airports.
“Through our NEXTT initiative with 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.”
The 2019 survey results were based on 10,877 responses from passengers across 166 countries.