Costs are no longer inhibiting passenger decisions as in the past. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: In post-pandemic air travel, passengers seek convenience over costs, says an International Air Transport Association (IATA) sponsored survey. Their preference is to fly from an airport close to home, have all booking options and services available in one single place, pay with their preferred payment method, and easily offset their carbon emissions, says the 2022 Global Passenger Survey.

The survey highlights travellers’ concerns amid the post-Covid crisis period and shows an increased focus on simplification of processes. The results are based on over 10,000 responses and provide insight into what passengers would like most from their next air travel.

“Travel during COVID-19 was complex, cumbersome and time-consuming due to government-imposed travel requirements,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice-President for Operations, Safety and Security. “Post-pandemic, passengers want improved convenience throughout their trip. Digitalisation and use of biometrics to speed up the travel journey is the key.”

All booking options

Seventy-five per cent of the surveyed audience said proximity to the airport was the main priority when choosing where to fly from, which was more important than ticket price, where only 39 per cent considered it a priority. Travellers were satisfied with being able to pay with their preferred payment method, which was available for 82 per cent of travellers. Passengers identified access to planning and booking information in one place as a top priority.

“Today’s travellers expect the same online experience as they get from major retailers like Amazon,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA Senior VP of Financial Settlement and Distribution Services. “Airline retailing is driving the response to these needs. It enables airlines to present their full offer to travellers. And that puts the passenger in control of their travel experience with the ability to choose the travel options that they want with convenient payment options,”

About 18 per cent of passengers said that they offset their carbon emissions, and 36 per cent of the respondents said they were unaware of the option for offsetting emissions.

Share information

Most travellers are willing to share their immigration information for more convenient processing. About 37 per cent of travellers said they had been discouraged from travelling to a particular destination because of the immigration requirements.

Where visas are required, 66 per cent of travellers want to obtain a visa online before travel, 20 per cent prefer to go to the consulate or embassy and 14 per cent at the airport. About 83 per cent of travellers said they would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process. While this is high, it is slightly down from the 88 per cent recorded in 2021.

Make visa processing easy

Countries with complex visa procedures are losing the economic benefits that these travellers bring.

Where countries have removed visa requirements, tourism and travel economies have thrived. And for countries requiring certain categories of travellers to get visas, taking advantage of passenger willingness to use online processes and share information in advance would be a win-win solution,” said Careen.

Passengers are also willing to take advantage of technology and re-thought processes to improve the convenience of their airport experience and manage their baggage, according to the survey.