There is significant demand among smartphone-carrying passengers at Brazil’s largest airport, São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), for mobile access to trip-related information while moving through the airport.
This year’s SITA / Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey found that 90% of GRU survey respondents carrying a smartphone would welcome free WiFi access while 54% would be willing to pay for access to trip-related information.
Services that are of particular interest to smartphone carriers are: information on gate changes, flight delays and boarding status, 78%, time to reach departure gate, 25%, location of nearest lounge, 23%, wait times at security, 15%, and information on airport parking, 7%.
The rising influence of the smartphone is a key finding from the sixth annual SITA / Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey carried out with a representative sample of the 283.5 million passengers who pass through six of the world’s leading airport hubs, including Abu Dhabi International Airport, Beijing International Airport; Frankfurt International Airport; Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta; Mumbai International Airport; and São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport.
Some 63% of GRU passengers were carrying a mobile phone while 26% were carrying smartphones, more than double last year’s 12%. Smartphone penetration still remains considerably below the global survey average of 54%. In GRU, 35% of first / business class respondents and 33% of frequent flyers (10+ trips per year) were carrying a smartphone.
At 30%, the percentage of GRU passengers travelling with a mobile device who had Bluetooth activated when interviewed was higher than anywhere else, and well above the global average of 22%, which puts the airport authorities in a good position when it comes to introducing queue management and avoiding bottlenecks at border control and check-in.
GRU is the airport in the survey with the highest percentage of passengers checking in a bag, 94%, compared to a global figure of 67%. Most GRU passengers were on medium or long-haul flights which generally have a higher proportion of passengers checking in bags.
Self-service check-in has not been widely adopted at GRU with 87% of all respondents using a check-in counter compared to 44% globally. And 60% of those who used a check-in counter did so because they had a bag to check-in. Just 9% used an airport kiosk for check-in while both web check-in and off-airport kiosk check-in were each used by just 2%.
Norbert Steiger, SITA regional vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, said: "There is a modernisation programme currently underway across 16 Brazilian airports in advance of next year’s world cup event and we expect that this will inspire more travellers to use self-service check-in. SITA’s experience elsewhere shows that once self-service check-in kiosks are widely available and well-promoted the public respond with enthusiasm."
The survey found a significant appetite for new self-service options, especially related to bag management, including the following: tracking of bag location from a mobile device, 85%, reporting a missing bag from a kiosk, 82%, self-service bag drop, 73%, tag own bag, 68%, transfer kiosks, 65%, and self-boarding, 53%.
Overall, 57% of GRU passengers booked online, exactly the same as the global rate. GRU stands out for the fact that 74% of passengers who booked online had used the airline website compared to a global survey rate of 52%.
GRU passengers also make the most use of airline websites for non-air offers. Compared to a 25% global rate, 48% of GRU passengers who booked on the airline website also booked a hotel room and 40% used it to buy products and gifts compared to just 12% globally.
Other non-air offers popular with GRU passengers were: modifying a reservation, 43%, purchasing preferred seating, 31%, car rental, 15%, booking a vacation, 13%, and purchasing additional transportation, 8%.