May 15, 2008

Self service kiosk research - airline passenger survey

SITA’s second annual survey examines passenger perspectives of the self-service experience and trends in air travel.

Key Findings

  • Online booking actual usage is up overall since 2006 – Confirming that booking via the Internet is becoming the norm, the proportion of travelers that purchased their tickets online for flights on the day they were questioned
    – ie actual usage – rose from 47% in 2006 to 49% in 2007.

  • There is a preference for online booking when passengers know it’s available – Across the three airports surveyed, the ratio between people who knew online booking was available and used it against those who did not is 70:30 (64:36 in 2006), indicating a distinct preference for the online option when passengers know of its availability.

  • Rising concerns on Internet security – The 2007 survey highlights an increased lack of trust in the Internet, coupled with negative perceptions of web security. The percentage of passengers who knew they could self-book but didn’t use the online option for that reason almost doubled from 7% in 2006 to 12% this year. This links to results from the 2007 Airline IT Trends survey which showed that ‘lack of payment security and risk of fraud’ is the number one business issue that airlines associate with online travel sales.

  • 93% of passengers surveyed are positive towards booking online in the future – Nine out of 10 passengers interviewed in London Heathrow and Hong Kong and almost 97% in Atlanta reported that they would use online booking engines in the future.

  • More bags checked-in as security tightens – A particularly noteworthy outcome of the 2007 PSS is the increasing proportion of people that had to check-in one or more bags for their flight. Overall, nearly 83% of the
    passengers interviewed had to check-in at least one bag for their flight, with a 7% increase at London Heathrow from the 2006 survey and an 8% increase in Atlanta.

  • Self check-in: growing adoption – The survey highlights a sharp jump in the actual use of self check-in options at those airports – up overall from 23% last year to 30% in 2007, with business/first class travelers opting for this facility more than their leisure counterparts.

  • Baggage is still the number one reason respondents don’t use self check-in – Baggage is once again cited by passengers as the top factor for declining self-service check-in, with a marked rise from 19% in 2006 to 24% in 2007, according to passengers who said it was available.

  • An encouraging sign on remote bag drop services – It is encouraging to note however that the remote baggage drop concept – which liberates the passengers through enabling a total off-airport check-in process – is greeted with considerable enthusiasm among travelers, especially in Hong Kong (70%) and Atlanta (64%) with a lower result for London Heathrow (42%).

  • Online bookers use web check-in more – Online bookers know much more about self-service check-in and use it more frequently than passengers who didn’t reserve their flights via the web. This finding is even stronger in 2007, with 71% (compared to 60% in 2006) of those who frequently book online actually using self-service to check-in, compared to 38% of passengers that did not book online using self check-in.

  • New in 2007 PSS: Mobile phone check-in – While mobile phone check-in is still in its infancy and unfamiliar to most air travelers, the 2007 PSS aimed to gauge attitudes to this new technology. In Atlanta, 63% expressed a positive attitude to mobile phone check-in, compared to 48% in Hong Kong. In contrast, 69% of passengers interviewed at London Heathrow were unfavorable to its adoption.

  • Most passengers welcome self-service expansion – There is a marked increase in the number of travelers who would utilize kiosks for lost baggage notification – up from 40% in 2006 to 50% this year, while nearly 80% of participating passengers are positive towards registering for a notification service dispatching flight information such as flight delays or gate change. Also, both surveys report that two thirds of respondents are favorable to using kiosks for transfer purposes.