Airlines Taking Off In Self Service Kiosks

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Airlines and airports around the globe are jet setting into the world of self service to enhance customer experience when travelling the world.

And the move to implement self service kiosks has proved a massive hit with passengers after a recent survey revealed that six leading airport hubs across five continents has seen a 20 per cent growth in adoption of self service check-in options over the last year.

This change in passenger habits has also seen more passengers demanding improvements in security procedures and airport dwell times as they check-in less baggage.

The survey conducted by SITA, also found that convenience as much as price is driving online booking which is now close to 100 per cent availability in mature markets, 63.7 per cent of those questioned in the survey booked online.

On top of this consumer habit, passengers are spending more though the airline websites in ancillary services such as hotels and car hire and their numbers are expected to double.

Airlines are now clocking onto this and have designed their websites to become a channel of choice for pre-flight and post-flight customers services. 50 per cent of passengers interviewed, for example, are using airline websites to modify reservations or update frequent flyer information.

The 4th annual SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Self Service (PSS) survey is a detailed look at the attitudes and trends of a representative sample of the 232 million passengers who use these six leading international airports: Harsfield-Jackson, Atlanta; Mumbai International; Charles de Gaulle, Paris; Moscow Domodedovo; Sao Paulo, Guarulhos, Brazil; and OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg.

The data is extracted from interviews with 2,193 passengers who conducted the survey at the departure gate earlier this year.

The top four steps that passengers would most likely change about their journey was the: security screening, 18.2 per cent, dwell time at the airport before flight departure, 14.8 per cent; in-flight experience, 14.5 per cent and waiting for checked baggage on arrival, 9.3 per cent.

Dominique El Bez, SITA Director, Portfolio Marketing, said, “The survey does provide a good news for the air transport industry, and airlines in particular, because it proves that self-service has passed a tipping point in the last 12 months.

“We have seen a 20 per cent increase in adoption of self service check in options across all these hubs. It is also significant that this holds true among transit passengers who exercised the self service check in option at over 200 other airports.

“The main obstacles to the further rise of self service are check in baggage which is being addressed by the industry through revised bag-drop processes, and the necessity to have access to a printer to acquire a boarding pass through web check-in.

“This last issue is being addressed by the industry through adoption of the mobile Bar Code Boarding Pass (BCBP) which will allow a BCBP to be sent from the web check-in interface to the passenger's mobile phone. In fact, 66 per cent of the self service check-in users would prefer an electronic boarding pass.”

In 2009, the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta, found that self service check-in reached a record 83.9 per cent in 2009, up from 64 per cent in 2008.

Web check-in was used by 25.6 per cent of departing passengers at Mumbai International Airport making it by far the most popular self service option for Indian passengers. Kiosk check in is still the most popular self service user option at Atlanta (45.8 per cent) Paris (18.9 per cent) and Johannesburg (8.1 per cent) while web check-in proved the most popular option with passengers in Moscow (9.2 per cent) and Sao Paulo (6.4 per cent).

There has been a very positive attitude among passengers when it comes to checking in with kiosks, with 75 per cent preferring this option to 62.5 per cent opting for website check-in and 44 per cent of passengers more positive towards mobile check in.

Passengers flying on more than 100 different airlines and representing over 80 different nationalities were interviewed during April/June 2009 in this independent survey.