Research published today by IT provider SITA shows that UK airline passengers are among the highest users of technology to manage their travel experience. When it comes to booking their flight, 94% of UK passengers use self-service options, and 70% checked in for their flight on a mobile, PC or kiosk, compared to 57% of passengers globally.
One of the reasons for the higher use of self-service technologies among UK passengers compared to the global averages may well be because a greater proportion of UK respondents had flown with low cost carriers. Whether these passengers were personally motivated to use technology or were strongly encouraged by the carriers’ rules, the results of SITA’s survey show that they were happy to do so. This is particularly true at the booking and check-in stages, where around 90% of passengers rated their experience as positive.
SITA’s research also shows that even though UK passengers are happy to use technology, the majority (62%) consider themselves ‘careful planners’ who like to carry printed documents and welcome interaction with airline agents to confirm everything is on track and going to plan.
Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, said: “We have taken a close look at the types of passengers in the UK and examined their emotions to get a clear view of passenger behaviors throughout the journey. Across the board, UK passengers have embraced technology in their journey and are very happy using it.
“Our research has revealed that UK passengers are careful planners and many of them are also willing to pay extra for services that will enhance their travel experience. Airlines and airports in the UK have the opportunity to increase satisfaction levels by using technology to deliver the peace of mind and extra services that these passengers want.”
High on the list of services that UK passengers would like is to be provided information on their mobiles about their journey. For example, 61% of passengers “definitely” want flight status updates and alerts, while 52% also definitely want information on baggage collection, such as which carousel to go to and how long it will take for their bag to arrive.
The PC is still the most popular tech tool among UK passengers with 76% of them using a browser on PCs to book their flights compared to the global average of 62%. And when it comes to check-in the web is number one for UK passengers - 49% use it, a figure considerably higher than the global average of 28%. However, mobile check-in, which has been available for a much shorter timeframe, is growing fast and is now the second most popular check-in option with 11% of UK passengers using it, just edging airport kiosks into third place (10%).
SITA’s survey was based on 309 passengers traveling through nine international airports across the UK, which in total represent 83% of UK passenger traffic. It also included interviews and observations of passengers at UK airports to assess their how they use technology and their emotions when doing so. The analysis showed four different personas or types of travelers:
- Careful Planner
- Independent and hyper-connected
- Open-minded adventurer
UK passengers are predominantly ‘careful planners’ with 62% of identifying themselves this way. Some 16% thought of themselves as an ‘Open-minded Adventurer’ - excited by the prospect of their journey and 15% identified themselves as ‘Pampered’ travelers who are willing to pay extra for the services that will enhance their journey. Overall UK passengers are happy; 79% exhibited positive emotions throughout the journey with high peaks when they used mobile devices for booking flights (93%) and check-in (86%).
*Further details on SITA’s research into the UK air passenger can be found here