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Nearly 1 in 2 travellers prefer agents: IATA poll

Travel professionals are seen as particularly valuable during tough times

A major study by The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that although travellers are increasingly looking for more information, automation and control in many aspects of their journey, the human and indeed travel agent touch is still highly valued. 



Polling over ten thousand people from 145 countries, IATA’s 2018 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) found that nearly half (43%) of all passengers still prefer to use a leisure and/or corporate travel agency to book flights. 


Post-departure, travellers are looking for more personalized service too, especially when things go awry. 


According to the study, when trip disruptions occur, two in five (40%) travellers of all age groups want to resolve a situation over the phone while nearly two in five (37%) prefer face-to-face interaction. 


Overall, during the air travel process, passengers are increasingly looking for more self-service options, with automated check-in preferred by the vast majority (84%) of passengers. 


Of that number, almost half (47%) prefer to check in online using a smartphone while one in six (16%) opt for traditional check-in. 


Whilst seven in ten (70%) travellers want self-service baggage drop-off, one in three (32%) still want an agent to tag their bag. 


Other key findings in the survey were:


  • After booking a flight, the three main priorities for passengers were receiving information on flight status (82%), baggage (49%) and waiting time at security / immigration (46%), preferably on their mobile devices 
  • 74% of passengers rated automated immigration processes favourably
  • 56% of flyers considered real-time baggage updates a must-have 
  • 65% of passengers are willing to share personal data for quicker security, while 45% would be happy to replace their passports for biometric ID


What advances do you consider most important during the air travel experience?


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 3 October 2018

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