Time For A Revolution


The world’s airlines are on the verge of delivering a revolution in the passenger experience, according to IATA chief Tony Tyler, who cited greater customer control over the journey itself, a drive to reduce hassles and an initiative designed to ensure travellers stay connected with their travel suppliers.

In this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, Montreal editor, Mike Dunbar reports that Tyler told the recent World Passenger Symposium that IATA’s most recent customer survey showed that almost 40% of passengers prefer to check in via the Internet or with their mobile devices and 38% prefer automatic check-in.

Only 15 % said they would opt to receive their flight document from an agent manning an airport check-in counter.

At the same time, fully 60% of respondents said that, in the event of a disruption, they would prefer to be informed and offered new booking options via an automated kiosk or electronically.

He told some 900 delegates that IATA is responding to the demands through its Fast Travel initiative, which features six time-saving self-service options including self or automatic check-in, self bag-tagging, self-boarding and automatic rebooking.

Tyler revealed that IATA’s board had asked that at least four Fast Travel options be made available to 27% of eligible passengers this year.

He stated, “With the support of our airport and IT partners we can make it happen,” adding, “by 2020 we want 80% of air travellers to be offered a complete self-service suite based on industry standards.”

As far as hassles are concerned, Tyler said IATA’s baggage-handling initiatives had contributed to a 50% drop in mishandling cases of late and a new programme, dubbed InBag, will achieve a further 50% reduction to 0.5% by improving processes.

The IATA director general told the San Diego conclave, “While baggage mishandling is a hassle for a small portion of travellers, our passengers tell us that the security checkpoint is a near-universal pain point.”

For the full story in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, click here.