Survey reveals travelers want more automation, control and privacy

Airline passengers around the world are looking to new technology to give them more control and information when traveling, while also making the entire experience more efficient.

These insights were revealed as part of the 2018 Global Passenger Survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association, or IATA. The study is based on 10,408 responses from 145 countries.

According to the IATA report, passengers want the following when they are traveling:

— Real-time journey information delivered to their personal devices

— Biometric identification to facilitate their travel processes

— Automation of more airport processes

— Wait times of less than 10 minutes at security/immigration

— Bags tracked throughout their journey

— A human touch when things go wrong

— Real-time Journey Information

In addition, passengers said they want to be kept informed throughout their journey preferably via their personal device. After booking the ticket, receiving information about flight status (82 percent); updates about baggage (49 percent) and notifications about waiting times at security and immigration checkpoints (46 percent), are the top three priorities among travelers.

In fact, real-time baggage tracking throughout the journey was seen as a must for 56 percent of passengers, according to IATA.

Airlines and airports are meeting this demand by implementing tracking at major journey points such as loading and unloading. The industry is also working on developing a global readiness plan for the proposed introduction of RFID inlays in all baggage tags manufactured after January 2020 in order to meet passenger expectations, IATA said.

Passengers’ preferred option for receiving information on their baggage and other travel elements was via their mobile device. Receiving information via SMS or Smartphone app was preferred by 73 percent of passengers.

Since 2016 there has been a 10 percent increase in passengers preferring to receive travel information via a smartphone app, said IATA.

The new IATA report also revealed that the majority of passengers (65 percent) are willing to share personal data for expedited security and 45 percent are willing to replace their passports with biometric identification.

IATA said the goal of its One ID project is to move passengers from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token (fingerprint, face or iris). But concerns over data protection must be addressed.

“As we move more and more towards digital processes, passengers need to be confident that their personal data is safe. IATA is working to establish a trust framework that ensures secure data sharing, legal compliance, and privacy,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for Airport, Passenger, Cargo, and Security.