SITA has released the results of its latest Passenger IT Trends survey, showing rising use of mobile apps for check-ins and a continued reliance on self-service fueled by technology.
The survey is one of the most extensive in the world, spanning 17 countries and 76% of passenger air traffic. The most stark change is how rapidly face-to-face has dropped for both booking and check-in.
The traditional means of engaging with airline reps has been replaced by a surge in mobile device usage.
Given the growing size of mobile phone screens, such as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there's a more effective user experience for booking on mobile. Here's how SITA expects those trends to continue into 2016:
The survey took a different approach this year, focusing on the emotional states of travelers during different phases of the journey.
It's actually almost hard to believe how positive most of the surveyed travelers are — perhaps there is still some glamor and magic remaining in travel after all!
The most glaring area of negativity is, of course, security. Baggage collection is the second least popular area of travel. There's no surprise there, either.
Booking and on-board are the two areas where the highest percentage of passengers report positive emotions.
Airlines should take heed of this and realize that the experience is already primed for positivity — all the airline needs to do is deliver an exceptional experience that feeds off the positive.
When considering the bag drop scenario specifically, the survey found one peculiarity: travelers are more satisfied with self-service bag drop kiosks when they are staffed.
Compared with 77% for staffed, only 59% of travelers experienced positive emotions with unstaffed self-service drops. This is an important finding, as airlines must realize that lack of information creates distrust and negativity.
By staffing these areas of uncertainty, there can be outsized impacts on passenger experience.
Another potential use for technology is to replace and/or complement the information traditionally provided by gate agents and other airline staff.
In the bag example, providing carousel information and estimated wait times for baggage could help alleviate stress and perceived waiting times.
In announcing its latest results, Nigel Pickford, director of market insight for SITA, explains why emotions have become a core component of the survey:
"As passengers become more connected and airports more crowded the move to providing additional self-service continues.
"However, at SITA we wanted to get a better understanding of the connection between a passenger’s emotions at different stages of their journey and the technologies that have been used.
"Our survey shows that not only are passengers willing to use technology throughout their journey, but they have a clear preference to use their own technology when they have the choice."
The full report can be viewed here.
NB: Passport image control courtesy Shutterstock.