Speed and convenience are the top priorities for air travelers, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Global Passenger Survey 2023.
This is true across all air travel processes, from planning and purchasing to security checkpoints and more, and travelers are increasingly eager to see changes that encourage faster and more convenient air travel.
IATA’s survey suggests that online digital visas, biometrics at security checkpoints and more streamlined airport processes, such as baggage claim, will be implemented.
Visas and airport procedures
Many travelers heading to a different country struggle with difficult visa requirements. Convenient, digital online visa processes are needed around the world. In fact, 36% of travelers opted not to go to a destination because of complicated immigration requirements.
66% of travelers want to be able to obtain a visa online before traveling, while 87% of travelers would share their information to speed up the airport arrival process.
Travelers heading to the airport want everything faster. Seventy-four percent want to get from curbside to gate with a carry-on bag in just 30 minutes. Ninety-one percent of travelers are interested in an expedited security screening program (like the U.S. TSA PreCheck program) for trusted travelers.
The way travelers think about their bags is also changing. Sixty-seven percent of travelers want home pickup and delivery, while 77 percent said they would be more likely to check a bag if they could tag and check it before arriving at the airport. A further 87% want to track their bags, and 57% of travelers already use their own tracking devices to monitor their bags.
The rise of biometrics
Last year, 46% of travelers used biometrics at the airport, up from 34% in 2022. The number of those who would prefer to use biometrics instead of passports and boarding passes is 75%, a large majority.
Data protection is a major concern for travelers, but 40% of them would be more open to using biometrics if they knew their personal information was secure.
IATA has created a One ID initiative that is working to streamline airport processes using biometric data. Travelers can obtain all necessary pre-trip clearances directly from governments digitally, even before arriving at the airport, bypassing all document checks at the airport.
‘We have the standards and technology to radically improve the international travel experience. But we can only move forward at the pace that governments allow within their regulations. That’s why one of the top priorities for achieving seamless One ID-enabled travel is to work with governments to demonstrate that border control can be safer even as it makes passenger travel more convenient,’ said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president of Operations, Safety and Security.