Air passengers slow to adopt mobile travel solutions

Air passengers slow to adopt mobile travel solutions

Fewer than 5% of people use mobile check-in and booking, SITA survey finds

Fewer than 5% of people use mobile check-in and booking, SITA survey finds

More than 90% of airline passengers admit to using technology, but only a fraction of flyers use their smartphones to ease the travel process, a new report has found.

According to the results of the 2013 SITA/Air Transport World Passenger IT Trends Survey, released this week, more than three quarters (76%) of air passengers carry a smartphone. This makes the world’s flyers a more tech-savvy bunch than the rest of the world, with only 40% of the global population owning a smartphone.

Check-in kiosks, like these at Heathrow airport, are now becoming the norm
Check-in kiosks, like these at Heathrow airport, are now becoming the norm

But while travellers are carrying these devices, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re using them to ease the travel process. The survey results showed that usage rates of mobile services such as check-in and booking remain below 5%.

“Technology has become an indispensable travel tool for the vast majority of today’s passengers. Our survey this year has seen 90% of them say that technology has helped them when travelling. The opportunity for further improvements is here now – with smartphones in their hands passengers are equipped to use sophisticated mobile services,” said Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA.

“Passengers are ready but remain at the edge of really ‘going mobile’. This year’s survey has shown that the industry should indeed offer mobile services that make it easier to book travel and manage the entire journey. Improving usability and utilising the unique capabilities of smartphones is the key to increase usage. Airlines and airports that recognise this, and provide passengers with easy-to-use mobile services that improve the travel experience, will enjoy higher adoption rates and passenger satisfaction,” he added.

The 2013 survey found that 69% of people booked their travel through a website, and 20% used a kiosk for check-in on the day of travel. SITA noted that these figures are “in line with the levels seen in last year’s survey”, suggesting the first wave of self-service technology is now becoming the norm.

The second wave, according to SITA, will be the widespread adoption of mobile services. And the survey results appear to show a willingness among travellers to use their smartphones for travel. Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents said they would definitely use their mobile for flight search and 58% for flight status updates. Only 37% however, said they would buy tickets.

Main concerns cited by travellers regarding lack of smartphone use include fear that the phone won’t work (31%) and compatibility issues (24%).

The survey questioned 299 million passengers passing through six of the world’s biggest airports: Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo and Atlanta.

Mark Elliott
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Mark Elliott
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