Photo by Vagiola Serghiou

Passenger Survey Reveals What Travelers Want and Don’t Want from Airport Security

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published its annual survey detailing passenger priorities and found that 70% of travelers are happy to share their personal biometric data if it speeds up their airport security process. This percentage increases in correlation with the number of flights taken per year with the highest support for biometrics (76%) among flyers who travel for business more than 10 times per year.

The survey also revealed that 46% of passengers would prefer to use biometric identification instead of a paper passport for their journey and 30% would opt to use a biometric token to board the plane.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said that passengers are willing to share more personal information if it removes hassle from their travel experience, but concerns over data privacy remain. “While the majority of passengers want to use biometric identification instead of a paper passport, 53% of those that did not, said they were concerned about the security of their data. Passengers need to be confident that their data is safe.”

These findings lend strong support to IATA’s own One ID project which aims to create a paperless airport experience for passengers where they can move from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token such as a face, fingerprint or iris scan. Securing data is a key issue for One ID and IATA is working on a trust framework that ensures that stakeholders have access to passenger data on an authorized, need-to-know basis only.

The survey also revealed that 45% of passengers want to receive information on wait times at security and border control via their mobile devices, and 37% want to know wait times at customs.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of passengers said speed was the main benefit of using automated immigration gates/kiosks. A similar number (72%) appreciate the speed of automated immigration processing. The survey indicated that 79% of passengers want to wait no longer than 10 minutes at immigration and customs.

Having to remove personal items was identified as the biggest problem for passengers (60%), closely followed by the removal of laptops and large electronic devices (48%) and variations in screening processes at different airports (41%).

The most popular wish for passengers (60%) is not having to go through security at the transfer airport.

The 2019 survey results were based on 10,877 responses from passengers across 166 countries.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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