Technology

Use of personal devices top priority for airline passengers

Posted by Phil Davies on
Use of personal devices top priority for airline passengers

Airline passengers want to use personal devices to control more aspects of their journey from booking to arrival, according to a new Iata study.

Almost a quarter of travellers from North Asia say an airline app is the preferred method of booking.

Apps were the second most popular choice among passengers in the Middle East, favoured by 14% of travellers.

Booking through an airline website, although less popular than in 2018, remains the method of choice for most travellers globally (39%).

Using a smartphone was also identified by more than half of passengers (51%) as their preferred method of check-in – up by 4% on last year.

Most passengers (72%) also wanted to be kept informed throughout their journey via travel notifications sent to their personal device.

SMS remains the preferred notification option for 39% of passengers, but this trend has been decreasing since 2016.

Conversely, preference for receiving information via a smartphone app has increased by 10% since 2016 and is now the method of choice for one third of passengers.

The survey found that 83% of passengers want to receive information on the status of their flight and 45% would like details on their baggage.

Passengers also asking for information to help them plan their way through airports, with 45% wanting to know wait times at security and border control and 37% about 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. The highest support for this (76%) is among fliers who travel for business more than ten times a year.

In addition, 46% of passengers would prefer to use biometric identification instead of a paper passport for their journey and 30% would opt to use a biometric token to board the aircraft.

Passengers identified airport security screening process and border control as two of their biggest ‘pain points’ when travelling.

Having to remove personal items was identified by 60%, closely followed by the removal of laptops and large electronic devices (48%) and variations in screening processes at different airports (41%).

To improve the boarding experience, the top three suggestions from passengers are:

  • More efficient queuing at the boarding gate (60%),
  • Not needing to get a bus to the aircraft (51%) and
  • More bin space for cabin luggage (46%).

To improve connections, the top three desires from travellers are not having to go through security at the transfer airport (60%), not having to pick up and reclaim their bag at the transfer airport (59%) and not having to pass immigration at the transfer airport (55%).

More than half (53%) of those surveyed found onboard wi-fi as important.

The importance is the highest in Africa (71%), Latin America (68%) and the Middle East (67%) and the lowest in Europe (44%) and North America (49%).

Iata director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “Passengers are 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% 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.”

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