Passengers at Abu Dhabi Airport carry smartphone but choose personal service

4 December 2013 (Last Updated December 4th, 2013 18:30)

Most passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport carry a smartphone but they prefer going to a counter for service according to the latest global survey by air transport IT provider SITA.

Abu Dhabi International Airport

Most passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport carry a smartphone but they prefer going to a counter for service according to the latest global survey by air transport IT provider SITA.

The survey showed that 84% of passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport carry a smartphone, compared to an average of 76% in other locations. The survey found that more passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport carry smartphones than at any of the other airports covered.

The 2013 SITA and Air Transport World Survey included six major international airports; Abu Dhabi International, Beijing Capital International, Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International, Frankfurt International, GRU Sao Paulo International, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Despite the technological advantage, most passengers at Abu Dhabi were not comfortable using their smartphones as part of the travel process. Around 87% regularly check-in with an agent at a counter, compared to the global average of 51%.

About 77% said that they would prefer going to a counter for an agent than using their phone. Their biggest concern was that their phone would not work.

"The lower usage is a reflection of the regional preference for personal service rather than a mobile or online one."

In addition, nearly 94% regularly obtain their boarding passes at a counter rather than at a kiosk, printing at home, or using their mobile.

Ahmad Al Haddabi, COO at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: "With the high level of smartphone ownership among passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport, there are still opportunities to explore and increase awareness of the potential benefits of using these devices for travel.

Abu Dhabi Airports started to introduce mobile services in 2012, with the focus on making the passenger journey easier, and since then, passenger usage has been constantly increasing. Furthermore, the lower usage is a reflection of the regional preference for personal service rather than a mobile or online one, especially amongst the older generations."

SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, Hani El Assaad said: "This year's survey confirms again that passengers at Abu Dhabi International prefer personal service at the time of check-in.

"However, they are interested in using mobile services, particularly for information about their journey and the location of their baggage. Smartphones offer the ability to provide these 'always-connected' travellers with relevant information and updates at the airport and throughout their journey."

Abu Dhabi passengers were interested in using their mobiles for in-flight services, and entertainment is the most popular use, with 94% saying that they would use this service in contrast to the global average of 85%.

About two-thirds are also interested in in-flight access to emails, flight information and phone calls.


Image: The SITA survey showed that 84% of passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport carry a smartphone, compared to a global average of 76%. Photo: courtesy of Abu Dhabi Airports