IATA Global Passenger Survey: use biometrics

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2021 Global Passenger Survey has delivered two main conclusions. Passengers want to use biometric identification, if it expedites travel processes, and they want to spend less time queuing.  

Passengers want technology to work harder, so they spend less time being processed or standing in queues. They are willing to use biometric data if it delivers this result.

The survey results were based on 13,579 responses from 186 countries, and it asked what passengers would like from their air travel experience.  It found:

  • 73% of passengers are willing to share their biometric data to improve airport processes (up from 46% in 2019).
  • 88% will share immigration information prior to departure for expedited processing.
  • 36% have experienced the use of biometric data when traveling. Of these, 86% were satisfied with the experience.
  • 55% identified queuing at boarding as a top area for improvement.
  • 41% identified queuing at security screening as a top priority for improvement.
  • 38% identified queuing time at border control / immigration as a top area for improvement.

Current data indicates that airport processing times have ballooned to 3 hours during peak time with travel volumes at only about 30% of pre-COVID-19 levels. The greatest increases are at check-in and border control (emigration and immigration) where travel health credentials are being checked.

This exceeds the time that passengers want to spend on processes at the airport. The survey found that:

  • 85% want to spend less than 45 minutes on processes at the airport if they are travelling with only hand luggage.
  • 90% want to spend less than one hour on processes at the airport when travelling with a checked bag.

IATA is promoting two programmes that can support a successful ramping-up of aviation post-pandemic and provide travellers with the expedited experience they are demanding, one of which is their app, IATA Travel Pass.