Air Transport World

SITA survey: choice is key to encouraging self-service.(CUSTOMER SERVICE-IT)(Survey)

Over the last several years, airline passengers have become empowered by technology. Booking a flight and checking in at the airport now can be "self-service" activities in which interaction with airline employees is minimal or nonexistent. This is largely welcomed by carriers because it allows for lower staffing levels and, regarding check-in, can streamline foot traffic in terminals. Determining how passengers are reacting to this major shift in the air travel experience, particularly when the industry enjoys a less-than-stellar customer service reputation, is becoming critical for airlines trying to plan for the future.

SITA, a leading provider of IT business solutions and communication services to the air transport industry, sought answers in its "2007 Passenger Self-Service Survey" and exclusively shared detailed findings with ATW in a briefing at its US headquarters here (see tables throughout article). The second annual survey indicates that passengers are more willing to use self-service technologies, particularly if they are aware of the options available and are frequent travelers. But it also reveals that they are becoming more selective as the range of self-service options expands, and that in order to capture the broad array of passengers, airlines likely will have to offer a menu of self-service choices.

FACT FILE

Step of the journey passengers would most like to change

                              %
Waiting for baggage           20
Security screening            18
Dwell time at airport         17
Passport control and customs  10
Check-in                      10
Planning stage                 9
Arrival process                5
Boarding                       4
Other                          4
Bag drop point                 3

Source: SITA 2007 Passenger Self-Service Survey

FACT FILE

Growing preference toward online booking *

                 2007  2006
                   %      %

Atlanta            78    79
Hong Kong          50    48
London Heathrow    77    60
All 3 airports     70    64

* Proportion of people that knew online booking was available and used
it. … 

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