Transport Airlines

What stresses travelers most? New industry survey points to security and luggage

Jan 04, 2013 12:01 am

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Reducing stresses, most of which are incremental changes, is the next big user experience battle in the airline/aviation industry.

— Jason Clampet

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Report: Social Media Customer Service in the Travel Industry

Most youngsters will not talk to people sitting next to them on a flight despite being active Facebook users, but playing games and catching up on work are even less popular.

These are some of the results of the latest global survey of air travellers, which shows some rather odd results such as some who do not think it a good idea to be warned of flight disruptions or delays.

The most frustrating part of the journey endured by passengers is the queuing time for security screening at airports, followed by removing shoes and belts, the survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows.

Three out of four travellers would opt for the self-service or web-enabled option, according to the findings, which also shows travellers under 25 enjoy the onboard experience just as much as arriving at their destination, while older passengers just want to arrive.

The comprehensive survey shed some light on the behaviour of modern air travellers and will help to determine how the aviation industry adjusts itself in terms of products and services offered.

Paul Behan, IATA’s head of passenger experience, said the survey, using social media as a tool, was designed by the global airline body to give an independent, objective snapshot of the views of passengers worldwide on what they value from air transport.

It contains responses from nearly 3,000 travellers from 114 countries who had travelled by air in the 12 months prior to participating in the survey, which was conducted in June.

Among the respondents, 17% were from North America, 36% from Europe, 17% from Asia-Pacific, 21% from South America and 9% from the Middle East and Africa.

The travel experience

Most (51%) of air travellers suggested arriving at the destination was their favourite aspect of the journey, whereas only 24% selected the onboard experience. The most popular activities on a flight were watching movies (41%), followed by reading (21%) and sleeping (17%).

Security

Most respondents answered that an acceptable queuing time at a security point is 5-10 minutes.

Queing time was the most frequently mentioned frustration with the security screening process, selected by more than one-third (37%) of respondents. Second was removing shoes and belts (21%).

A significant majority (75%) would rather go through a full-body scanner than have a full pat-down by a security officer. This preference was lowest with Middle East respondents at 70%. Some 73% of respondents would be willing to share personal background information with governments in order to speed up security screening _ this was highest in North America (85%) and lowest in Europe (66%). The vast majority of travellers (93%) felt that dedicated security lanes are a good idea.

Flight disruptions

Nearly all air travellers (98%) reported finding proactive notifications of flight disruptions a good idea, preferably via text message to their mobile.

IATA could only guess the 2% of travellers who did not think it a good idea would just like to find out for themselves.

Social media and technology

An overwhelming majority (89%) of respondents used social media, with 60% daily users. Some 60% of social media users would like to interact with their airline using social media during their journey, especially to receive travel information (84% of respondents favoured this).

Ancillary services

One in three respondents bought additional services for their flights in the 12 months leading up to the survey. The most frequently mentioned extra service was baggage check-in/excess baggage (55%), followed by onboard food and beverage (54%) and assigned seats/seat upgrades (52%). Some 71% of respondents had purchased additional services for flights through an airline website.

Check-in

For passengers travelling with hand baggage only, self-service check-in via the internet and automated check-in were equally popular check-in options. Nearly two out of five (37%) would prefer not to have a boarding pass but instead use biometrics or an ePassport as a boarding token when travelling with hand baggage only.

In cases where there was baggage to check in, 35% of respondents preferred automated check-in, while 31% selected self-service via the internet as the preferred option.

Most respondents (52%) would prefer to print web bag tags the same as printing a web boarding pass. There was an interesting regional split in this answer, with most of the respondents willing to self-print located in South America (70%) and the lowest frequency in Europe (49%).

Passenger facilitation

Some 77% would be comfortable using biometric identification where available, for more convenient airport transit.

Most (71%) would prefer to use a self-boarding device such as a mobile at the gate.

An even greater majority (86%) would be prepared to provide the airline their passport details in advance to allow a smoother journey.

Only 25% of respondents have ever used an automated immigration border gate on arrival at an airport using their ePassport or ID card, but 91% would be interested in such a service to speed up the arrival process.

Baggage

About two-thirds of air travellers (67%) were “very satisfied” with their baggage experience when they checked in baggage on their most recent flight.

Dissatisfaction was due mostly to late delivery of baggage on arrival at the final destination (50%), followed by lengthy queues to check-in their baggage (45%) and damage to baggage (39%).

A large majority of passengers (81%) would be interested in tracking their bags in real time. Unsurprisingly, the most preferred option to register a claim for a mishandled or misplaced bag was to see a reclaim agent at the airport.

(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand). Distributed by MCT Information Services

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