How the travel industry can get it right when things go wrong

According to the recent IATA 2018 Global Passenger Survey (GPS), effective disruption management requires accurate and timely information, quick resolution of immediate needs, and ways to make the time spent waiting after a missed flight more comfortable.

GPS finds that, when a flight is disrupted:

  • 54% of respondents said they want real-time, accurate travel notifications
  • 46% said they would like to be re-booked automatically, with new boarding passes issued on the spot
  • 39% said they would be comforted by face-to-face interaction with an airline agent who will help manage further travel details
  • 38% said they would like to receive hotel accommodation
  • 26% said they would like meal vouchers
  • 22% said they want information on airport services available including restaurant/retail and service concessions (massage, pedicure, shops, lounge access)
  • 17% want baggage tracking information
  • 15% want to get transportation from the airport

Related to these findings, passengers have clear preferences on the types of notifications they would like to get. While the majority still prefer to be notified by SMS, the percentage of passengers preferring SMS has dropped by close to 10% as notification via apps rises in popularity.

Even when everything is going smoothly, passengers value information on their journey and services available.

  • 82% of GPS respondents said they want to receive flight status updates
  • 49% said they want information about their bags and insights on the wait time for delivery
  • 46% said they want to know the wait time to expect at security and border control checkpoints
  • 45% said they want information on any regulations or requirements that might affect their trip
  • 43% said they want to know the distance and time required to get to their gate
  • 39% said they want to know the wait time at arrival customs
  • 38% said they would like information on enhanced airport services available
  • 25% said they’d like to get information about their destination
  • 19% said they’d welcome more information on airline products and services that they could purchase during the trip

The definition of disruption is likely to shift in passengers’ view as Millennials age-up to become the core base of flyers. Already, their views of service “taking too long” might come as a surprise. For example, the GPS report shows that they don’t want to take longer than 30 seconds to drop off their bags and don’t want to spend more than five minutes waiting for their bags on arrival. They prefer electronic boarding passes and check-in using their smartphones because these solutions save time.