Passenger survey highlights security, passport control and baggage collection as most negative airport touch-points

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Passenger IT Trends Survey
The 2015 Passenger IT Trends Survey shows that passengers feel more negative emotions at the airport security checkpoint and during the baggage collection process than at any other points during the travel process. (Image: SITA. Click to enlarge image)

SITA has released the findings of its annual Passenger IT Trends Survey and they provide an interesting insight into how passengers feel at each of the key touch-points in the travel process.

More than 5,800 survey respondents were asked to rate their last travel experience through each step of the journey in terms of positive emotions (happiness/excitement) and negative emotions (anger/anxiety) based on Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions model.

The above graphic highlights the full results, and while it is unsurprising that airport security (36% negative) evokes the most negative emotions, it is interesting to note that bag collection upon arrival (31% negative) comes in a close second. A relatively high number of passengers also reported feeling negative emotions at passport control (25% negative) and bag drop (21% negative).

As for the other touch-points, only 9% of passengers felt negative emotions during the booking process, 14% during check-in, 11% when tagging their bags, 5% during dwell time before boarding, 12% during the boarding process and 9% once onboard the aircraft.

Passenger demands chart
Almost three-quarters of surveyed passengers said they would definitely opt to receive flight updates via their smartphone if the service was available during their journey. (Image: SITA. Click to enlarge image)

A deeper delve into some of these touch-points also provides interesting reading on how new technology can impact passengers’ emotions. During the check-in process, for instance, 97% felt positive emotions when undertaking web check-in, while only 83% reported feeling positive emotions when checking in at the airline desk at the airport. During the bag drop process, 77% reported feeling positive emotions when using a staffed bag drop station, but this number falls to 59% at unstaffed bag drop stations, suggesting that passengers feel more comfortable when a staff member is on hand to help in case anything goes wrong.

The report states: “[This] result indicates the importance of having a transition plan when introducing new technology for passengers until they have obtained a high level of familiarity.”

Airports and airlines should also take note of which services travellers would like to use their mobile devices for while they are at the airport. 72% would definitely use their smartphone to view flight updates, 63% would definitely opt to receive bag collection updates, 60% would definitely use their device for access (including accessing lounges and boarding the aircraft), 59% would definitely use their smartphone for identification purposes, and 57% would definitely use their smartphone to view airport maps and directions.