New study shows air travelers prefer self-service

Posted on 10. Oct, 2010 by Kat Schneider Fotheringham in Blog, Business Travel, Uncategorized, corporate housing, executive accommodations, international business travel

International airline passengers want self-service extended from online booking and kiosk check-in to security and passport control and boarding their flights, according to a new study.

The report, based on surveys taken at seven major airports on five continents, said most travelers also want more automation for handing in baggage and paying excess fees, reporting missing luggage and switching flights.

The survey found that online booking and check-in have well overtaken the traditional methods of visiting an airline office or travel agent and collecting boarding passes from registration desks at the airport, and that an average of 71 percent of passengers surveyed at the seven hubs had booked in online or at automated airport kiosks for their flights.

But checking in on mobile phones was much less common, with only 3 percent of those questioned on the day of the survey having used the method.

Great news for corporate housing providers on the web, Geneva-based SITA (Specialists in Air Transport Communications and IT Solutions) recorded a sharp growth in passengers using airline websites to book hotels — up from 21 percent of those surveyed in 2009 to 38 percent this year — and to rent cars — up from 19 to 35 percent.

There were similar increases in use of carriers’ websites for other services like buying travel insurance, bus and train tickets and for ordering duty-free items in advance, SITA said.

The surveys were carried out on a single day among what SITA said was a representative sample of the millions of travelers using the seven airportsAtlanta, Beijing, Frankfurt, Johannesburg-Tambo, Mumbai, Moscow Domodedovo and Sao Paulo.

The survey also found that travelers in North America and Asia were increasingly willing to pay a small extra fee to offset the carbon footprint of their flight.

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