Air travellers prefer devices over people: Survey

Mumbai: Airline passengers across the globe are so comfortable with technology today that they are choosing to use it rather than interacting with people, a recent survey by the communications and IT solution provider SITA said on Friday. The "2016 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey" shows that 85 percent of passengers had a positive travel experience up from 80 percent last year.  Noticeably, passengers are happier at the steps of the journey where they have more choice and control in how they manage their trip.  At booking, which they can do online, using a mobile or with an agent, 93 percent had a positive experience, the survey said. 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. “Knowing that passengers prefer using their own devices and self-service technology throughout the journey should encourage airlines, airports and government to examine how they can transform the experience at security, border control and baggage collection. The technology is available today and the industry can be confident that it will be welcomed by passengers,” said Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, in a statement. But not all passengers are the same and SITA has analysed the behaviour of four different types - careful planner, pampered, hyper-connected and open-minded adventurer.  Each profile uses technology in different ways and SITA’s research shows that a "one-size fits all" approach risks alienating some passengers.  Regardless of their type, once passengers are converted from person-to-person interaction to using self-service technology few want to go back.  Even if they are not satisfied with one type of self-service technology they tend to try another rather than revert to human contact. When it comes to check-in 91 percent using self-service technology will do so again and again, the findings noted.