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SITA’s Passenger IT Insights 2019 survey finds that passengers are happier when technology smooths their way – especially when it comes to tracking their baggage via mobile apps.

Mobile notifications during luggage collection have resulted in the biggest technology-driven improvement in satisfaction during air travel (8.6%), according to the 2019 SITA Passenger IT Insights report. The research involved passengers from 19 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa, representing over 70% of global passenger traffic.

SITA IT Report

Last year, more than 4.3 billion bags were checked in by passengers globally, which averages out to roughly 1.2 bags per person, up from 1.08 bags per passenger in 2017. According to Peter Drummond, SITA’s portfolio director of Baggage, that trend goes hand in hand with the soaring popularity of mobile-friendly baggage tracking apps.

“The rise in checked baggage is likely to drive demand for more services as passengers want to know where their bags are at all times,” Drummond told APEX Media at this week’s Passenger Terminal Expo, adding that where these mobile baggage tracking solutions are available, satisfaction levels have surged.

SITA’s research shows that 26% of passengers in 2018 used their mobile device to receive status updates on their baggage at arrival, up from 14% in 2017. There also is a growing demand from passengers to receive more baggage information via their mobile devices. A majority of passengers said they would definitely use mobile notifications providing information on baggage at arrival, while a similar proportion said they would use their mobile devices to track their bags and/or report mishandled baggage.

Passengers who relied on traditional voice or screen announcements for updates also ranked baggage collection as one of the lowest points in their journey while those receiving mobile updates perceived this step as one where they were most satisfied.

The survey also found that travelers who used their mobile devices to receive updates at baggage collection were 8.6% more satisfied than those who relied on traditional voice announcements or flight information screens. Passengers who relied on traditional voice or screen announcements for updates also ranked baggage collection as one of the lowest points in their journey while those receiving mobile updates perceived this step as one where they were most satisfied. Drummond was quick to point out that airlines using SITA’s WorldTracer technology to track bags are enjoying a significant reduction in the rates of baggage mishandling across the board.

“Today airports and airlines are increasingly tracking bags at key points across their journey,” Drummond explained. “While this tracking data is primarily used to provide better oversight of baggage and reduce mishandling, many operators are providing some, or all, of this information to passengers as a mobile service. As we have seen from the survey, this service has a tremendously positive impact on passengers’ airport experience … while also [greatly] reducing anxiety around baggage.”