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Passengers happy when technology eases passport checks

February 28, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

More passengers than ever are using automated technology for passport checks at airports around the world and they are happy to do so – with almost 60% “very willing” to use their mobiles for ID verification and a further 33% open to the idea.

According to the SITA 2019 Passenger IT Insights, co-sponsored by Air Transport World, automated passport checks are running at double the rate recorded in 2017 and passengers are more satisfied when using the process.

The study shows that in 2018, 44% of passengers sailed through automated passport control, a jump from 21% in 2017.

The newly released report explores how technology is contributing to a smoother passenger experience at every step of the journey. At passport control, a traditional “pain point” of the journey, passengers were 3.85% more satisfied when they used self-scanning gates to verify their ID, compared to those using agent-assisted controls. These technology users had a satisfaction rate of about 84%.

SITA president, air travel solutions, Matthys Serfontein, said a notable finding of the report this year was that at every point in the journey, where passengers used technology, the rate of satisfaction was higher.

“Airlines and airports can see the benefit of their technology investments in making it easy for passengers, every step of the way. Over the years, booking, check-in and bag drop have increasingly become automated and passengers like it.

“Interestingly, this year the report shows how introducing automated passport controls, in collaboration with government and border agencies, also increases passenger satisfaction.”

Sydney Airport biometrics

Automated gates used at boarding are another success for the industry and its passengers. Not only do they speed up passenger processing but they support more efficient operations and faster turnarounds. SITA’s Insights show that satisfaction is 2.2% higher when passengers scan their own documents to board.

Serfontein added: “Today, we have our Smart Path solution at airports around the world, from Australia to the Americas, which uses biometrics to automate the journey.”

Qantas is a leading airline when it comes to new technologies for biometrics, with many thousands of travellers already processed through existing facial recognition trials in Brisbane, Sydney and Los Angeles.

“Across the board we have found that passengers are keen to use the biometric self-service process, when given a choice, over 90% of travellers typically opt in,” Serfontein said.

“Actions speak louder than words and it’s becoming very clear from our Smart Path implementations that people like using biometrics for easy travel.”

To verifying their identity, passengers are ready to use technology even more and in a variety of ways, SITA reports. It says 59% are “very willing” to use their mobiles for ID verification along the journey, with a further 33% open to the idea.

While proving your identity using your mobile device is not an option widely available today, with nine out of ten passengers potentially welcoming this service, airlines and airports can be confident when moving to mobile services for ID identification. Passengers are looking to make their journey as easy as possible and mobile is top of the technologies they want to use.

The key findings of SITA’s report are based on a survey of passengers from 20 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa, representing over 70% of global passenger traffic.

Edited by Peter Needham

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