GENEVA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its annual Corporate Air Travel Survey of over 10,000 active travellers, which shows that not only are passengers accepting high-tech travel options, but also they are demanding even more opportunities to take control of their travel experience.

Detailed results showed that:

  • 89% of responding travellers preferred e-tickets to paper tickets
  • 56% had experienced internet check-in and
  • 69% had used self-service kiosks

When asked if they wanted more self-service options, 54% said yes with positive results from all regions:

  • 64% in Africa and the Middle East
  • 57% in the Americas
  • 53% in Europe and
  • 51% in Asia Pacific

“The consumer has spoken and the message is clear. Self-service is part of full-service expectations. And airlines are responding with technology that gives travellers greater convenience and more options to control their travel experience,” said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA.

Respondents ranked the self-service features they plan to use most often in future:

  1. 1. Online booking (75%)
  2. 2. Online reservation changes (69%)
  3. 3. Online check-in (61%)
  4. 4. E-mail notification service (60%)
  5. 5. Printing boarding passes at home (58%)
  6. 6. Common use self service check-in (53%)
  7. 7. Re-routing of missed or cancelled flights (41%)
  8. 8. Remote baggage drop off service (33%)
  9. 9. Post arrival assistance (28%).

Respondents also called for additional self-service options online and at the departure gate:

  • Online: The list of website services that consumers want was headed by the opportunity to select or change seats (82%). Passengers also want the ability to change reservations (55%), update their frequent flyer information (49%) and purchase or request upgrades (45%) online.

  • At the Departure Gate: Topping the consumer self-service wish list at the gate is the ability to obtain last minute upgrades (62%), followed by last minute changes to seating (46%) and obtaining transfer information (27%). Adding frequent flyer information (21%) and the ability to check-in additional baggage (19%) rounded out the top five preferences.

“The self-service revolution is underway. It’s a win: win situation. Consumers demand the empowerment of new technology and the efficiencies it creates are critical for an industry that needs to reduce costs,” said Bisignani.

IATA’s Simplifying the Business programme, started in 2004, is the platform for global standards in technology and process that are improving the travel experience. Global penetration of electronic ticketing, now at 88%, will be 100% by 31 May 2008. Over 90 airlines are using bar coded boarding passes; common-use self-service kiosks are operating at 80 airports; and RFID baggage management is live at four airports.

“Simplifying the Business is only just the beginning. We are now looking to integrate technologies into a seamless process that meets traveller expectations for even greater convenience through self-service,” said Bisignani.

IATA will release information on the next stage of Simplifying the Business on 12th December.

Detailed charts including regional breakdowns (pdf)

Notes for Editors:

  • IATA has some 240 members comprising 94% of scheduled international traffic.
  • Simplifying the Business projects include 100% electronic ticketing by the end of May 2008, the use of bar coded boarding passes, common use self service check-in, RFID for baggage management and IATA e-freight. Together they will save the industry US$6.5 billion per year.
  • IATA’s Corporate Air Travel Survey 2008 examines the needs, attitudes and general preferences of business travellers, providing vital information on trends and future expectations. The survey was conducted online and completed by 10,281 active air travellers.