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Tech Makes Travel Better, Right?

The travel experience is pretty good, and high technology is making it even better. That’s the conclusion of the “Passenger IT Trends Survey 2014” conducted by Air Transport World and SITA, the self-described “world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology.” The survey results reflect input from 6,300 respondents from every corner of the world.

The study begins with a statement of the obvious: “Pain points still exist for passengers.” Surprisingly, however, 78 percent of the respondents were “generally happy” with their travel experience. The level of dissatisfaction was highest among respondents in the Americas, at 28 percent.

More than half of those surveyed (53 percent) agreed that online technology has improved the travel experience. Of those passengers that use smartphones, 43 percent indicated they have made a definite improvement to their travel experience, with a further 51 percent rating them “nice to have.”

So, where should the industry invest in order to improve travel? The top three:

  • Better comparability of airline fares (54%)
  • Better real-time flight information (52%)
  • Inflight wireless services (52%)

Travelers stay connected on the road: 97 percent of those surveyed travel with their own mobile devices — a smartphone (81 percent), a laptop (43 percent), a tablet (43 percent), or all three (18 percent).

With that technology comes expectations. More than half of the respondents “definitely expect” airlines to alert them to flight disruptions, either via a mobile app or a voice call. A majority also expected airlines to step up in the event of such disruptions, either automatically rebooking affected passengers or providing them with personalized rearrangement options.

Entertainment topped the list of preferred uses of mobile technology, followed by communications (email presumably), and shopping.

Finally, seven out of 10 respondents were comfortable sharing location and personal data with travel suppliers, provided it directly benefits them and doesn’t facilitate “intrusive commercial services.”

Reader Reality Check

What would you like to see the airlines do to better utilize mobile technology?

This article originally appeared on

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