‘Technology improves travel experience’


    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments and industry to work together to make best use of modern technology to improve passenger travel experience.

    Solutions such as the One ID initiative, and radio frequency identification (RFID) for baggage tracking both need the support of stakeholders, including governments, according to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general and chief executive officer.

    IATA’s One ID initiative is helping the industry transition towards a day when passengers can move from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token such as a face, fingerprint or iris scan.

    “Biometric technology has the power to transform the passenger experience. Airlines are strongly behind the One ID initiative. The priority now is ensuring there is regulation in place to support the vision of a paperless travel experience that will also ensure that their data is well protected,” said de Juniac.

    In June, airlines committed to the global deployment of RFID for baggage tracking.

    “Industry needs to be reminded that in addition to meeting our customers’ expectations, implementation of RFID will help reduce the $2.4 billion cost to airlines from mishandled bags,” said de Juniac.

    The 2019 IATA Global Passenger Survey noted strong preferences by travelers for technology to enable them to track their baggage in real time and to expedite their journey through the various airport processes.

    The focus of the survey was on processes and technology in the travel experience, not airline or airport service levels.

    IATA said an airline app was the preferred method of booking for passengers from one of the world’s largest aviation markets, with 24 percent of travelers from North Asia preferring this method. It was also the second most popular choice among passengers in the Middle East, favored by 14 percent of travelers.

    Booking through an airline website, although less popular than in 2018, remains the method of choice for most travelers globally 39 percent.

    Using a smartphone was also identified by more than half of passengers 51 percent as their preferred method of check-in. This was a 4 percent increase over 2018.

    Most passengers, 72 percent, also wanted to be kept informed throughout their journey via travel notifications sent to their personal device. SMS remains the preferred notification option for 39 percent of passengers, but this trend has been decreasing since 2016.

    Conversely, preference for receiving information via a smartphone app has increased by 10 percent since 2016 and is now the method of choice for one third of passengers.

    The survey found that 83 percent of passengers want to receive information on the status of their flight and 45 percent would like information on their baggage. Passengers also asking for information to help them plan their passage through the airport with 45 percent wanting to know wait times at security and border control and 37 percent wanting to know wait times at customs.

    The survey found that 70 percent of passengers are willing to share additional personal information including their biometric identifiers to speed up processes at the airport. This increases in correlation with the number of flights taken per year. The highest support for this 76 percent is among fliers who travel for business, more than 10 times per year.