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Survey: Passengers Embrace Technology for Seamless Air Travel

Photo source: SITA

Air passengers are embracing mobile and touchless technologies in efforts to make their journey as convenient and seamless as possible in the post-Covid-19 era, a recent survey released by SITA found.

SITA is a leading international specialist in air transport communications and information technology.

The company’s 2022 Passenger IT Insights research reveals an increase in passenger use of mobile devices for booking, on board the airplane, and for bag collection in Q1 2022 compared to Q1 2020, while automated gates saw increases in adoption for identity control, boarding, and border control.

The results clearly reflect the accelerated digitalization of air travel since the outbreak of the pandemic and passengers’ willingness to adopt technologies.

Other key findings include:

  • Health verification is a pain point that has slowed end-to-end automation. In Q1 2022, despite some uptake of technology at this stage, over half of passengers were still doing their own research on health verification requirements and manually submitting documentation.
  • SITA’s research also found reduced technology adoption in the early stages of the journey (check-in, bag tag, and bag drop) in favor of manual processing. Uncertainty about health requirements and travel rules has likely led travelers to seek more staff interaction when starting the journey.
  • The survey shows that the more technology there is during travel, the happier passengers are. As many as 87 percent of passengers have positive emotions about identity control, up 11 percent from 2016; the same is true for 84 percent of passengers about bag collection (up 9 percent).

Photo source: @SITA

  • Asked about comfort levels with biometric identification throughout the journey, passengers scored an average of almost 7.3 out of 10 (with 10 representing most comfortable), most likely reflecting their desire for ease of travel moving forward from the pandemic.
  • Passengers also consider sustainability before they choose to fly. Around half of passengers would value airports and airlines putting in place new IT solutions to support sustainability. Almost all passengers would pay on average 11 percent of their ticket price to offset carbon emissions from their flight.

Travelers to fly more from 2023

As recovery gathers pace, SITA’s Passenger IT Insights survey says that passengers intend to fly more from 2023 onwards than they did prior to the pandemic, anticipating averages of 2.93 flights per passenger per year for business, and 3.90 for leisure.

When weighing up whether to fly or not, the main barriers are ticket prices, health risks, and geopolitical risks.

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