The travel experience has come a long way in the past few years. Part of the changes occurring are being driven by airports and commercial airlines seeking to offer passengers a more seamless, connected travel experience by leveraging the latest mobile technologies available. Passengers are clearly embracing these technologies as a way to have more control —and a more personalized—travel experience from start to finish, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA),

IATA’s 2017 Global Passenger Survey, produced over 10,500 + responses from around the  world offering insight into what passengers want from their air travel experience.

“Passengers have never been as empowered as they are today,” said Pierre Charbonneau, IATA’s Director Passenger and Facilitation. “[Passengers] expect easy access to the information they want, exactly when they need it in the travel process. Airlines and airports that make the most use of technological innovations will be giving a better travel experience to their customers.”

The results of the survey revealed that passengers want to be empowered by technology at every step of the journey. Highlights include:

  • 82 percent of travelers want a digital passport on their smartphone that will take them from booking, check-in, security, all the way through the airport to the gate. 64 percent favored biometric identifiers as a preferred travel token.
  • To help get through the airport, 51 percent of passengers want to know the wait time at security and border control. Similarly, 58 percent were reported to want to know the wait times at customs.
  • Once at the gate, many passengers wanted more control over the boarding process. 72 percent of passengers preferred to self-board.
  • During the journey, passengers want to stay connected and informed. 85 percent of passengers want to check the status of their flight and 50 percent want to track their baggage. Providing real-time information directly to the passenger ranked high in improving the travel experience during travel disruptions for 63 percent of respondents.
  • Once in-flight, 42 percent of passengers prefer to use their own device to access in-flight entertainment, highlighting the importance of greater connectivity for both the carriers and the passengers.

While commercial airlines need to consider how they can deliver personalization and connectivity for their passengers, according to Charbonnueu’s statement, improving the experience needs to be a joint effort at every point of the travel ecosystem. “A global coordination framework is needed on how passenger data is shared, controlled, and projected.”

The full report is available at www.iata.org/gps.

Shany Seawright

About Shany Seawright

A senior executive at Strategic Communications Group and Managing Editor of Connected Aviation Today, as well as other publications, Seawright oversees the editorial direction of the publication and managed the editorial staff.