Airline travelers in the UAE are increasingly using self-service technology to better manage each step of their journey and to make the most of their time in the airport to relax, shop and dine. A total of 48% of UAE travelers use self-service technology where available rather than interact with a person, providing them with more control over their journey.
The 2016 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, carried out by global IT provider SITA across the UAE’s main airports and representing 98% of the UAE’s passenger traffic, showed that increasingly passengers use self-service technology to book (93%), check-in (44%) and access their boarding pass (61%).
This trend is expected to accelerate next year. The survey shows that self-service usage across the UAE is predicted to surge 36% over the next year with a majority of travelers opting to manage their own booking, check-in and boarding using either a kiosk, website or a mobile app.
Demand for mobile self-service options in the UAE in particular is expected to grow sharply in the year ahead. A total of 34% of travelers expect to use mobile booking compared with 15% in 2016, while mobile check-in will surge from 5% in 2016 to 19% of travelers using it in 2017. Passengers are also demanding new mobile services, particularly in the area of baggage. A total of 71% of UAE travelers said they definitely would want baggage update notifications and 55% said they wanted baggage collection details.
During dwell time at the airport, 93% of UAE travelers considered eating and drinking as the most valuable activity. Similarly 90% of travelers saw shopping as the most valuable activity. UAE travellers are also at their most happy during dwell time, with 96% of passengers feeling positive emotions.
Passengers in the UAE rely heavily on technology during dwell time to access services available in the airport. A total of 72% used their mobile or went online to do airport shopping.
In this year’s survey, SITA analyzed the behavior of four different types of passengers. The Careful Planner, Pampered, Hyper-Connected and Open-Minded Adventurer profiles each uses technology in different ways depending on their travel style. Almost half (41%) of travelers across the UAE’s biggest airports perceived themselves as “careful planners” who planned every step of their journey well in advance while 14% were “pampered” – those willingly to pay extra for comfort.