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NEWS Last modified on September 29, 2014

SITA survey finds passengers ready for wearable technology

Passengers have no problem with airline or airport staff using wearable technology, such as smartwatches and glass innovations like Google Glass, a SITA survey has found.

The SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Survey discovered nearly 77% of the 6,277 passengers surveyed would be "comfortable" with the use of wearable tech to help them on their journey.

Travellers passing through the world’s top 30 airports were surveyed, and SITA says, results highlighted the “growing importance of the tech-savvy passenger”.

Among the passengers interviewed, almost every passenger (97%) carries a smartphone, tablet or laptop when they fly, and one in five travels with all three, while flyers want to use technology at every point of the journey, and many already do.

In total, 76% are using airline apps, and 43% say this has made a definite improvement to their travel, while more than (53%) want personalized alerts about any delays sent directly to their phones, and 57% want airport maps and directions, and half would like to use their smartphone for boarding.

Francesco Violante, chief executive officer, SITA, explains: “Travel is better with technology. And tech-savvy passengers expect more personalized apps and services consistently delivered on the web, to their phone or tablet.

“As new technologies such as wearable tech, NFC and iBeacons, become commonplace, they present a great opportunity for airlines and airports to engage directly with their passengers to provide efficient services throughout the journey.”


The survey also found almost all passengers surveyed carrying a mobile device or computer, the demand for services in-flight is also changing.

An increasing number of passengers (56%) also want connectivity so they can use their smartphone, tablet or laptop for in-flight entertainment, and 54% want to able to send and receive emails and text messages and make and receive phone calls in-flight.

And 45% would use their connected device to purchase food and drinks or browse a virtual duty-free shop.

Where once passengers were unwilling to share personal or location information with service providers, 72% are now willing to do so in order to get more personalized services.

The SITA survey did though find, there is still a reluctance to share information to receive commercial offers, with less than a third of passengers interested in this, but when it comes to improving their journey, like reducing queues at the airport, 40% said they were willing to share their location information.    

The 9th annual survey was carried out across 15 countries with nearly 6,300 participants, and represented 76% of total global passenger traffic.

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