IATA’s 2016 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) shows that passengers are looking for technology to smooth travel hassles.

Released at WPS on 18th October, the GPS was conducted with support from PwC, LLP and analyzed the responses of nearly 7,000 passengers from more than 145 countries.

It reveals that passengers are looking for a different travel experience based on: 

•    arriving at the airport ready to fly 
•    passing through security and border control once without having the hassle of removing personal items 
•    uniquely-tailored travel options—for which they are prepared to offer their personal data
•    having the same connectivity in the air as on the ground.
There is a clear preference for moving traditional airport processes “off airport.” In 2016, the percentage of passengers who checked-in online and used a mobile boarding pass rather than a printed one at least once increased from 69% in 2015 to 71%.  

Additionally, 33% of those surveyed wanted to self-tag their bags and 39% wanted to use electronic bag tags. The GPS also reveals that 26% were interested in having their luggage picked up from home and delivered to the airport and 24% would like to be able to drop off their luggage away from the airport. A majority (61%) expressed interest in tracking their bag throughout the journey.

To facilitate these demands, airlines are adopting IATA’s baggage Resolution 753, which requires the ability to track bags at major journey points.  
“Passengers want to arrive at the airport ready to fly by taking advantage of “off airport” digital self-service options,” said Pierre Charbonneau Director, Passenger and Facilitation, IATA. “IATA is helping the industry make this a reality for more travelers through its Fast Travel Program. If the industry meets its internal program goals, then, by 2020, 80% of global passengers will have access to more self-service options.” 
There are challenges to overcome with airport security and border control processes two of the biggest passenger pain points. The top frustrations were the wide variation in security screening techniques at different airports and the intrusiveness of having to remove personal items. In fact, 40% of passengers choose their route based on their airport transfer experience, making this a vital area for improvement.

Part of the answer will certainly be Smart Security, which is designed to make the airport checkpoint faster and more efficient for passengers.

The latest GPS also confirms the clear trend for constant connectivity, even in-flight. Some 51% of passengers—a 12% increase on 2015—would prefer to use their own devices on-board to access entertainment options. 

With availability of Wi-Fi connectivity continuing to have a direct impact on the overall air travel experience, adopting the latest on-board Wi-Fi technology remains an effective way for airlines to distinguish their brand.

“Passengers want convenience and quick results with their bookings and check-in, a seamless and secure airport experience, and unique tailored experiences throughout their journey,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security. “They are ready to embrace the benefits of new technology when it comes to enhancing their travel experience. Airlines and airports that recognize this and provide passengers with easy-to-use mobile services, self-service options, and one-stop security checks will improve the travel experience and passenger satisfaction.”

To gain access to the GPS 2016 full report and the highlights, visit www.iata.org/gps