European airline passengers like to use technology and 80% book their flights online, a higher rate than other parts of the world. In contrast however, when it comes to check-in Europeans do so face-to-face at the airport more often than the global average. These are the findings of the 2016 Passenger IT Trends Survey by travel technology provider SITA.
The survey, which was conducted across five European countries – France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain representing nearly 60% of European travelers – shows that just like the rest of the world, 85% of European passengers are happy. They are also happier at the steps of the journey where they have more choice and control in how they manage their trip. This is when a variety of technology services such as online, mobile and kiosks are available. It is clear that they prefer using technology throughout the journey but one size does not fit all.
In Europe website usage is hugely popular with 80% of passengers booking, 35% checking-in and 31% getting their boarding passes online. This compares to the lower rates globally of 75%, 31% and 11% respectively. This preference for online services may be due to the type of passengers in this part of the world. SITA analyzed the types of travelers and in Europe the most common is the ‘Careful Planner’; at 36% this is a higher proportion than the global average of 34%. Careful Planners do not want to experience anything negative on their journey, so they plan ahead to avoid them. Often they double check every stage of preparation and travel and they are more likely to print and carry documents.
When it comes to dwell time at the airport, 92% of European passengers have a positive experience. Their top five activities are reading a newspaper (85%), reading a book (82%), listening to music (80%), shopping (80%) and eating and drinking (79%). Airports should note the survey examined the emotions of passengers and shows that providing poor quality services has a more negative effect than not providing the services at all.
Passengers experience the most negative emotions during the security screening, passport control and baggage collection steps of the journey, peaking at nearly one third of passengers at security. These are also the steps with the least number of self-service technology options.
Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, said: “Airlines and airports across Europe are serving passengers well with 85% happy throughout their journey. As is the case worldwide, there is an opportunity to transform the experience at security, border control and baggage collection – the steps of the journey where currently the least amount of self-service technology is deployed.”
The survey examined which personal devices passengers carry on their journey. Tablets are more popular among European travelers than across the globe with nearly half (46%) of those surveyed in Europe carrying one. In addition, 83% carry a smartphone and 9% have a smartwatch. The fact that so many European passengers carry these devices highlights the need for airlines and airports to provide their services across a variety of channels.
This is the 11th edition of the SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey. It was conducted with more than 9,000 passengers from 19 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa representing almost three-quarters of global passenger traffic.