Smartphones, Mobile Apps Make Airline Passengers Happier

In addition to the growing adoption of mobile check-in apps, home printing of boarding passes will increase by 20 percent to reach 26 percent of all passengers.

smartphones and travel apps

Airline passengers are happiest and most excited when using technology for travel tasks, indicating that technology is helping make flying more enjoyable, according to a worldwide survey of 5,871 respondents conducted by SITA.

Survey respondents showed a strong inclination for using mobile apps over the mobile browser. About 8 percent of passengers check in for flights using an app, a figure that is expected to grow 90 percent over the next year.

By contrast, mobile browser check-in is growing at half that pace and is used today by only 3 percent of passengers.

Most passengers retrieved their boarding pass at the airport either directly from an airport desk (33 percent) or from a kiosk (29 percent), but there is a strong intention over the next year for passengers to be in possession of their boarding pass by the time they get to the airport.

In addition to the growing adoption of mobile check-in apps, home printing of boarding passes will grow 20 percent to reach 26 percent of passengers.

When booking a flight, the technology that makes passengers happiest and most excited is an app on their smartphone, with 94 percent experiencing these positive emotions using the app, compared to 90 percent booking at a travel agent or an airline office.

The proportion of passengers carrying smartphones this year has nudged up to 83 percent, from 81 percent last year. Fifteen percent travel with three mobile devices--mobile phone, tablet and laptop.

Sixty percent of passengers want to use their smartphones for access, including boarding the aircraft and airport lounges, with slightly less (59 percent) keen to use smartphones for identification purposes.

These connected travelers are happiest when using their own devices throughout their journey. Roughly two-thirds of passengers (67 percent) said they would "definitely" want access to their own devices for entertainment compared to 56 percent for airline-provided content.

Passengers also want to stay connected so that they can send and receive text/emails (60 percent), as well as stream live content (56 percent).

The survey also indicated booking the flight is one of the best parts of the travel experience with 91 percent of respondents experiencing positive emotions at this stage.

Respondents are happiest and most excited when they are able to relax while waiting to board or once on the aircraft.

An impressive 95 percent of passengers experienced positive emotions during wait time and 91 percent while onboard.

The least popular stages of the journey were at security, and to a lesser extent, at bag collection, however more than 60 percent of respondents still felt positive at these stages.