On the 1st of November 2022 in Bahrain, the International Air Transport Association reported the results of its 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS), revealing that travellers’ top concerns for travel in the post-COVID crisis period are focused on simplification and convenience.

IATA flag waves against a blue sky.

IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, Nick Careen, stated, “travel during COVID-19 was complex, cumbersome and time-consuming due to government-imposed travel requirements. Post-pandemic, passengers want improved convenience throughout their trip. Using digitalisation and biometrics to speed up travel journey is key.”

IATA identified the top picks from the survey as ways of dealing with the complex issues during the COVID-19 crisis to help passengers. They determined these values to include planning and booking, travel facilitation, and airport processes.

A world map with scratch-off design with visa, photograph and compass overlayed.
© Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels

Planning and Booking

IATA clarified that the convenience of passengers is that they plan their travel when choosing where to depart. They should prefer to fly from an airport close to home, have all the booking options and services available in one single place, pay with their prefered payment method and efficiently reduce their carbon emissions.

According to the GPS results:

  •  For 75% of passengers, airport proximity is the main priority when choosing where to fly out from, which was more important than the ticket price of about 39%. 
  • Travellers were satisfied with being able to pay with their preferred payment method, which was available for 82% of travellers. Access to planning and booking information in one place was the top priority. 
  •  18% of passengers said that they reduce their carbon emissions and the main reason given by those that did not was that they were not aware of the option (36%).

IATA’s Senior Vice President of Finacial Settlement and Distribution Services, Muhammad Albakri, adds, “Today’s travellers expect the same online experience as they get from significant retailers like Amazon. Airline retailing is driving the response to those who need it. It enables airlines to present their full offer to travellers. And that lets passengers control their travel experience with the ability to choose the travel options they want with convenient payment options.”

Lady justice figurine sits atop a desk with a gavel in front of a book shelf.
© Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels

Travel Facilitation

Travel Facilitation defines the terms of all the services and facilities related to getting the potential visitor from their origin to the destination. The use of travel facilitation by sharing immigration information can be proven to allow more timely immigration information. The GPS shows:

  • 37% of travellers said they had been discouraged from travelling to a particular destination because of the immigration requirements. Process complexity was highlighted as the primary deterrent by 65% of travellers, 12% cited cost and 8% time.
  • Where visas are required, 66% of travellers want to obtain a permit online before travel, 20% prefer to go to the consulate or embassy and 14% at the airport.
  • 83% of travellers said they would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process. While this is high, it is slightly down from the 88% recorded in 2021.

IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, Nick Careen, adds, “Travelers have told us that barriers to travel remain. Countries with complex visa procedures are losing the economic benefits that these travellers bring. Where countries have removed visa requirements, tourism and travel economies have thrived. And for countries requiring certain categories of travellers to get visas, taking advantage of traveller willingness to use online processes and share information in advance would be a win-win solution.”

People queue with luggage to board the rear doors of an orange striped plane.
© Natã Romualdo via Pexels

Airport Processes 

Passengers can take advantage of technology and rethought processes to improve the convenience of their airport experience and manage their baggage. These experiences have been identified in the 2022 Global Passenger Survey as follows:

  • Passengers are willing to complete processing elements at airports. 44% of travellers identified they checked in as their top pick for off-airport processing. Migration procedures were the second most popular “top pick” at 32%, followed by baggage. And 93% of passengers are interested in a unique program for trusted travellers (background check) to expedite security screening.
  • Passengers are interested in more options for baggage handling. 67% would be interested in-home pick-up delivery, and 73% in remote check-in options. 80% of passengers said they would be more likely to check a bag if they could monitor it throughout the journey. And 50% said they have used or would be interested in using an electronic bag tag.
  • Passengers see value in biometric identification. 75% of passengers want to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes. Over a third have already experienced this but using it remains a concern for about half of travellers.

Passengers see technology as key to improving the convenience of airport processes. They want to arrive at the airport ready to fly, get through the airport at both ends of their journey more quickly using biometrics and know where their baggage is at all times.

The industry is ready to power airport processes with biometrics through IATA’s One ID initiative. Covid-19 has helped governments understand the potential for passengers to share their travel information with them directly and in advance of travel and the power of biometric processes to improve security and facilitations processes and efficiently use scarce resources.

Readers can find the full results of the 2022 Global Passenger Survey on IATA’s website. What do you think? Do you agree with the top picks?


Please enter your comment!