In the ever-evolving landscape of air travel, speed, convenience and the embrace of biometric technologies have emerged as major factors, redefining the passenger experience. The latest Global Passenger Survey (GPS) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveals a clear pattern: passengers are looking for faster and more seamless journeys, facilitated by the combination of digitization and biometric procedures.
GPS highlights that modern travelers prioritize speed and convenience when traveling by air. Among the key findings, 71% of travelers prioritize proximity to the airport, eclipsing considerations of ticket price at 31%. In addition, the majority (52%) prefer direct bookings with airlines, while stressing the need for overall transparency in fare offerings and easy access to additional services.
Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Senior Vice President of Financial Settlement and Distribution Services, emphasized the importance of offering a seamless online experience similar to major retailers. He highlighted the Modern Airline Retailing program, which aims to streamline and simplify the booking process for passengers.
The survey also shed light on payment preferences, showing that 62% of travelers prioritize convenience when choosing payment methods. Credit/debit cards (73%) emerged as the most preferred method of payment, with regional variations in usage across payment options.
Albakri emphasized the importance of payment being an integral part of the overall commerce offering, acknowledging the diversity in market preferences. He emphasized the need to adapt different payment methods to avoid potential sales losses due to lack or complexity.
Concerns about the complexity of the visa regime emerged as a significant deterrent for 36% of travellers, leading to reconsideration of certain destinations. The survey highlights travelers’ desire (66%) to engage in the digital visa application process before departure, highlighting a desire for smoother and more streamlined travel procedures.
Nick Kareen, IATA’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Safety and Security, emphasized that the simplification of visa procedures is in line with travelers’ willingness to share immigration information for faster airport processes, which ultimately benefits both travelers , as well as for the economies of the destination.
Airport efficiency gained prominence, with 74% of passengers aiming to reach the boarding gate within 30 minutes when traveling with hand luggage, an increase on previous years. In addition, a growing interest in non-airport processes such as immigration (45%) and baggage check-in (19%) was identified.
Biometric identification has seen a surge in adoption, with 46% of travelers using biometrics and 75% expressing a preference for biometrics over traditional passports and boarding passes. Despite concerns about data protection, 40% of travelers would embrace biometric solutions with guarantees for increased security of personal information.
Kareen highlighted the importance of technologies that reduce processing times, highlighting the need for collaboration across the travel value chain and governments to ensure secure and efficient use of biometric data.
IATA’s One ID initiative, using biometric data to speed up airport processes, stands as a beacon for the future of air transport. The initiative aims to ensure secure, hassle-free travel experiences by bypassing airport document checks. However, the speed of this innovation depends on government regulations, which highlights the need for collaborative efforts between airlines, the travel industry and governments.
For more in-depth information and a complete analysis, the GPS results can be accessed at www.iata.org/gps.