Airport technology boosts passenger satisfaction, survey finds

Self-service and mobile technology at airports boosts passenger satisfaction by making the journey less stressful, according to new research by IT provider SITA.

The 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, co-sponsored by Air Transport World, found that passengers already rate their journey very highly – with an overall satisfaction rate of 8.2 of out 10 – but this is boosted even further when technologies such as mobile services and biometrics are used.

Ilya Gutlin, President of Air Travel Solutions at SITA, commented: “Passengers are increasingly comfortable with the use of technology in their everyday lives, and they are demanding more services as they appreciate the benefits technology can bring to their journey. Airports and airlines can take note that technology solutions can boost passenger satisfaction every step of the way.”

Over a third (37%) of travellers surveyed by SITA used automated ID control on their last flight. Of these, 55% said they had used biometrics at departure security, 33% for boarding and 12% for international arrivals. Passengers who use biometrics rated the experience 8.4 – above the ratings for face-to-face passport checks (8) and boarding (8.2).

Baggage collection is another area where technology is improving the passenger experience, SITA said. On their last flight more than half (58%) of passengers who checked in bags received real-time bag collection information upon arrival. These passengers were happier than those who did not receive any information, and passengers were even more satisfied when they received the information to their mobile devices.

The survey also highlighted the fact that, as passengers become more familiar using technology during travel, they are switching to newer, more efficient platforms.

For instance, airline and airport apps meet passengers’ desire for new services to help them better manage their journey. They want personalised information about their flight, their baggage and how to find their gate directly on their mobile device.

Also travellers are keen to use new tech-enabled services: three quarters (74%) of passengers said they would definitely use flight and gate alerts pushed to their mobile devices; 57% would use airport wayfinding; and 57% would use biometrics for ID checks.

Gutlin concluded: “Passengers aren’t deciding anymore whether they should use technology but which technology to use. They want to make each step of the journey as easy as possible. Tech adoption will be driven by both context and usability. For this reason, a clear focus on the end-users’ demands should shape the services airlines and airports offer.”

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