Post-Pandemic Air Pax Demand Simplicity, Convenience Facilitated by Technology: IATA Survey

“Travel during COVID-19 was complex, cumbersome and time consuming due to government-imposed travel requirements,” Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security noted in the announcement of the results of IATA’s 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS).

So it’s no wonder that moving forward, simplicity, speed and convenience top pax’ wish lists for air travel, and they are increasingly willing to use technology and hand over information in advance for greater benefits. IATA surveyed more than 10,000 travellers in over 200 countries for its annual report.

“Post-pandemic, passengers want improved convenience throughout their trip. Digitalization and use of biometrics to speed up the travel journey is the key,” he said.

Planning and Booking

  • Proximity to the airport was passengers’ main priority when choosing where to fly from (75 per cent). This was more important than ticket price (39 per cent).
  • Travelers were satisfied being able to pay with their preferred payment method which was available for 82 per cent of travelers. Having access to planning and booking information in one single place was identified as being top priority.
  • 18 per cent of passengers said that they offset their carbon emissions, the main reason given by those that did not was not being aware of the option (36 per cent).

“Today’s travelers expect the same online experience as they get from major retailers like Amazon. Airline retailing is driving the response to these needs,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA Senior Vice President Financial Settlement and Distribution Services.

Immigration Processing

  • 37 per cent of travelers said they have been discouraged from traveling to a particular destination because of the immigration requirements. Process complexity was highlighted as the main deterrent by 65 per cent of travelers, 12 per cent cited costs and 8  per cent time.
  • Where visas are required, 66per cent of travelers want to obtain a visa online prior to travel.
  • 83 per cent of travelers said they would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process.
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“Countries with complex visa procedures are losing the economic benefits that travelers bring.  Where countries have removed visa requirements, tourism and travel economies have thrived. And for countries requiring certain categories of travelers to get visas, taking advantage of traveler willingness to use online processes and share information in advance would be a win-win solution,” said Careen.

Airport Processes  

IATA’s survey found that passengers are willing to take advantage of technology to improve the convenience of their airport experience and manage their baggage.

  • 44 per cent of travelers identified check-in as their top pick for off-airport processing. Immigration procedures were the second most popular “top-pick” at 32per cent, followed by baggage.
    • 93 per cent of passengers are interested in a special program for trusted travelers (background checks) to expedite security screening.
  • 67 per cent are interested in home pick-up and delivery of baggage, and 73 per cent in remote check-in options. 80 per cent of passengers said that would be more likely to check a bag if they could monitor it throughout the journey. And 50 per cent said that they have used or would be interested in using an electronic bag tag.
  • 75 per cent of passengers want to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes. Over a third have already experienced using biometric identification in their travels, with an 88 per cent satisfaction rate.
    • But data protection remains a concern for about half of travelers.
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