Passengers Demand Mobile Tech at Luggage Collection

While the adoption of technology has improved passenger satisfaction across the airport journey, the biggest jump by far over the past year was at luggage collection. Airline industry IT provider SITA’s 2019 Passenger IT Insights report finds passengers are demanding more mobile services in relation to their baggage and where these are available, satisfaction levels have surged.

SITA’s Passenger IT Insights research shows that 26 per cent of passengers in 2018 used their mobile device to receive status updates on their baggage at arrival, up from 14 per cent on 2017. Subsequently, there is a growing demand from passengers to receive more baggage information via their mobile devices, with a majority of passengers saying they would definitely use mobile notifications providing information on baggage at arrival, while a similar proportion said they would use their mobiles to track their bags or to report mishandled baggage.

The development and rollout of mobile services have dramatically improved passenger satisfaction levels, according to the report. In 2018, those travellers who used their smartphone to receive updates at baggage collection were 8.6 per cent more satisfied than those who relied on traditional voice announcements or flight information screens for information. In fact, those who relied on traditional voice or screen announcements for updates ranked baggage collection as one of the lowest points in their journey, while those receiving mobile updates perceived this step as one where they were most satisfied.

“Today airports and airlines are increasingly tracking bags at key points across their journey,” says Peter Drummond, director of Baggage at SITA. “While this tracking data is primarily used to provide better oversight of baggage and reduce mishandling, many operators are providing some, or all, of this information to passengers as a mobile service. This is being done either through the airline or airport mobile app or other notifications such as SMS.”

Passenger IT Insights

Drummond says technology holds the key. “As we have seen from the survey, this service has a tremendously positive impact on passengers’ airport experience. It provides a significant positive boost to the way they [passengers] perceive their travel while reducing anxiety around baggage. It is a strong endorsement of the benefits of baggage tracking in addition to the improvements in mishandling rates we have already seen where tracking solutions are in place.” He says airlines using SITA’s technology to track bags are enjoying a significant reduction in the rates of mishandling.

A potential force driving adoption of mobile baggage services is the growing number of checked bags in 2018. “More than 4.3 billion bags were checked in by passengers globally,” says Drummond. “This is an average of 1.2 bags per person, up from 1.08 bags per passenger in 2017. The rise in checked baggage is likely to drive demand for more services as passengers want to know where their bags are at all times. Those airports that track bags across the journey are well placed to offer this service.”

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