airline passenger

What airline passengers really want, according to IATA’s Annual Global Passenger Survey

IATA has asked 10,408 air passengers around the world to share their views on the passenger experience. The results reveal what travellers hate about air travel — along with a few surprises, according to a report in Travel and Leisure.


The airlines group published some results from the Global Passenger Survey (GPS) at the IATA Global Airport and Passenger Symposium in Athens. “The GPS tells us that passengers want a seamless and secure travel experience from booking to arrival,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security.


One surprise in the survey is that passengers are less willing to share personal data in exchange for a more personalised travel experience. While 70 percent of survey respondents said they’d be happy to last year, that number dropped to 65 percent in this year’s report. The industry is studying the cause of this significant drop, while conference attendees agreed that it could be a reaction to recent issues of data breaches at companies like Facebook, Uber, and British Airways.


“As we move more and more towards digital processes, passengers need to be confident that their personal data is safe,” Careen says. “IATA is working to establish a trust framework that ensures secure data sharing, legal compliance and privacy.”


The survey also revealed that 45 percent of travellers would hand in their passports if they could travel by air with a selfie. Biometric ID is a hot topic in aviation this year, and we can expect to see more facial scanners at checkpoints and gates.


Survey respondents were also very vocal about the things they don’t want: 57 percent don’t want to go through security screening, 53 percent don’t want the hassle of the lines at immigration, and 56 percent don’t want to stand around to reclaim their bags.


Respondents do want to get reliable alerts from the airline on changes throughout the journey. A growing number of passengers would rather get updates from airline apps rather than by SMS or email. About 82 percent of respondents said they want digital flight updates, 49 percent want information on the location of their bags and a time frame for delivery, and 46 percent said that they would like the airline to automatically re-book them and issue new boarding passes when there are flight changes.


For highlights of the survey, click here.