Travelers still prefer human customer service to technology automation for almost every travel function, says the OAG Airport Delight Report: Humans vs. Machines

Travel functions preferred over automation include:

  •  baggage (54 percent human customer service preference to 46 percent automation preference),
  • security (55 percent to 45 percent)
  • boarding (64 percent to 36 percent)
  • concierge (83 percent to 17 percent)
  • in-flight services (80 percent to 20 percent)

The only area where most travelers prefer automation to human customer service is ticketing and check-in – both of which are already commonplace today. Millennials prefer automation more than the general population in every area except for security. Specifically, millennials are 30 percent more likely to prefer automated airport concessions and retail and in-flight services compared to travelers 50 years and older.

Beyond automation, another opportunity to improve airport efficiency and reduce queuing is real-time deployment (and redeployment) of operational resources. Nearly 60 percent of travelers surveyed would let airports, airlines and other travel providers track their location through a mobile or wearable device if they used that data to redeploy staff to busy areas of the airport to cut down on wait times and queues. 

On average, 50 percent of travelers report spending at least 45 minutes waiting in line while at the airport, with 21 percent saying they spend at least an hour in line. 

 When travelers were asked which security development they were most excited for:

  • 50 percent said advanced CT scanners that allow travelers to leave electronics and liquids in their bags.
  • 28 percent said 3D X-ray technology that will help TSA more quickly review bag content on the conveyer belt.
  • 22 percent of travelers said mat-based shoe scanners that travelers can walk over without removing footwear.