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Articles

SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey: smartphone use at Beijing Airport

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The numbers of passengers at Beijing International Airport carrying smartphones has more than doubled in the last year, according to a new survey which shows that the smartphone is now fuelling the rapid adoption of passenger self-service at this important global hub.

In 2010, 20% of Beijing survey respondents were carrying a smartphone while 71% had an ordinary mobile phone. The 2011 SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey found that 44% were carrying smartphones with 50% carrying a regular mobile phone; and 92% of survey respondents would access a free airport WiFi network with 8% willing to pay for it.

The rising influence of the smartphone is a key finding from the 6th annual SITA/ Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey carried out with a representative sample of the 283.5 million passengers who pass through six of the world's leading airport hubs including Abu Dhabi International Airport, Beijing International Airport; Frankfurt International Airport; Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta; Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai; and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport.

Beijing passengers wanted access to the following trip-related information from their smartphones: gate changes, flight delays and boarding status, 67%; time to reach departure gate, 32%; wait times at security, 28%; location of nearest lounge, 18%; and information on airport parking, 21%. At Beijing, 18% would be willing to pay for such services.

Overall, 34% of passengers already receive SMS notifications of flight information, and 51% of frequent flyers (ten or more trips per year) have signed up for this service. Notably 32% of those interviewed at Beijing were interested in shopping deals, well above the global average of 19%.

Use of self-service channels continues to grow with the following percentages of passengers interviewed at Beijing using self-service frequently or occasionally: kiosk check-in, 72%; online check-in, 56%; self-boarding, 34%; and mobile check-in, 22%.

David Fu, SITA Director for China, said: "It is clear from this survey that the smartphone is leading to an increasing level of sophistication in the Chinese traveller's use of self-service functionality. We have seen a slight decline in the percentage of passengers with bags using counter check-in and there is a clear demand for self-service across a range of bag management options. Another interesting feature of this survey is the increasing popularity of airline websites for non-air offers."

 The survey found a significant interest in new self-service options with self-boarding the most popular, 63%; self-service bag drop, 55%; tracking of bag location from a mobile device, 52%; tagging own bag, 56%; reporting a missing bag from a kiosk, 49%; and transfer kiosks, 49%.

The survey found that 51% of those who booked online used the airline website. This provides a clear opportunity for airlines to be competitive on non-air offers. Currently, passengers use airline websites to: modify a reservation, 50%; purchase preferred seating, 31%; book a hotel room, 25%; hire a car, 9%; book a vacation, 10%; buy products and gifts, 9%; and purchase additional transport, 13%.

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