Airline passengers want more self-service and mobile-based offerings to help ease their journeys, according to new study.
This year’s Passenger Self-Service Survey, jointly conducted by SITA and Air Transport World, found that 70% of passengers now carry smartphones, which is fuelling the demand for services such as self-boarding and flight information updates.
Self-service is becoming increasingly popular with passengers. Almost two thirds of respondents used a self-service channel to check-in on the day of the survey, up from just over half last year. Close to 90% of passengers rated flight status updates on their mobiles and self-boarding as the most useful self-service technologies.
“What passengers really want is to avoid delays and to be kept informed of what is happening. Nearly everyone surveyed said they would welcome any queue-busting services and 89% voted self-boarding as their top technology,” said Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA. “We expect to see significant growth in technologies aimed at reducing waiting times.”
Violante added that the industry was now at a “tipping point”, with mobile services now becoming essential for airlines and airports.
“The number of passengers with smartphones has risen dramatically over the past year from 54% to 70%. We are already seeing the impact at airports with mobile check-in increasing by one third during this period and as many as 21% of passengers have now used a mobile boarding pass. We’re now at the tipping point of explosive growth in mobile services offered to passengers, which will give them more control over their journey and reduce stress,” he said.
The Passenger Self-Service Survey polled more than 2,500 passengers passing through six of the world’s busiest airport hubs: Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Frankfurt, Atlanta, Mumbai and Sao Paulo.
SITA noted that baggage drop-off services are gaining in popularity. Once seen as a barrier to self-check-in, SITA noted that 68% of respondents in this year’s study selected automated bag-drop as one of their top self-service offerings.
Online is now most popular form of check-in, with 79% of people using the service regularly or occasionally. Kiosk usage also increased further, with 77% of passengers having used them.
The survey also found that 62% of passengers use social media, rising to 80% among younger travellers (aged 18-24). But while passengers expressed interest in using social media for travel-related activities, the uptake was generally lower than for other channels such as mobile. Only 65% of passengers said they would use flight status updates if offered via social media, while 89% of passengers will use them when offered on mobiles.