Press release

Travelers Prefer Human Touch to Automation at the Airport, According to New OAG Analysis

Sponsored by Businesswire

OAG, the world’s leading provider of
travel data and insight, today reveals its latest tech market analysis, The
Airport Delight Report: Humans vs. Machines
. Based on a survey of
over 2,000 U.S. travelers, OAG offers new insight for airport leaders
and tech providers looking to delight travelers, streamline operations
and grow revenue.

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OAG analysis shows travelers prefer human customer service to automation for most travel functions ( ...

OAG analysis shows travelers prefer human customer service to automation for most travel functions (Graphic: Business Wire)

The major takeaway: While high tech investments and automation improve
the airport experience, they aren’t a cure-all. In fact, outside of
ticketing and check-in, the market prefers human customer service over
automation for almost every other travel function: baggage (54% human to
46% automated customer service), security (55% to 45%), boarding (64% to
36%), concierge (83% to 17%) and in-flight services (80% to 20%).

Additional takeaways from OAG’s analysis include:

  • Travelers don’t mind being tracked– if it leads to a better
    Nearly 60% of travelers would let airports track their
    location through a mobile or wearable device to redeploy staff to cut
    down on wait times.
  • Forget robots. Practicality trumps flash: Only 19% of travelers
    said they see value in interactive robots that provide information and
    concierge services. Comparatively, 40% want more baggage loading zones
    to expedite security lines, 54% would value in-airport, turn-by-turn
    directions for navigating terminals and gates, and 75% want real-time
    updates on expected boarding times.
  • Momentum builds for automated airport retail: 54% of
    millennials, 37% of business travelers and 35% of all travelers
    reported interest in self-checkout retail options at the airport.

“We’re seeing that the market isn’t quite ready for a full-fledged
automated airport experience – although we expect that evolve over time,
with tech eventually becoming the clear preference,” said Vipul Nakum,
chief product officer at OAG. “While investing in emerging technology is
smart, travel leaders need to remember the easy and simple wins, like
consistent flight status updates, text message alerts before boarding,
more baggage loading zones, and in-airport directions and GPS. These
simple improvements reduce friction and delight passengers.”

OAG also evaluated sentiment around two untapped airport revenue
opportunities: on-demand, gate-side delivery and pre-ordering through
mobile. OAG found that while only 6% of travelers have pre-ordered food
or drink for pickup at a gate-side restaurant, 66% would consider taking
advantage in the future. Similarly, while only 9% of travelers have
ordered gate-side delivery of food and drink, 62% are willing to try it

“The easiest way to delight travelers – and get them to spend more
gate-side — is through convenience and information,” added Nakum.
“Travelers that feel truly informed, with consistent updates across all
channels, are more comfortable and confident venturing away from the
gate to patronize restaurants, retail stores and bars. For travel
leaders looking to capitalize, the more proactive and prescriptive they
can be with their updates – ‘Group A is boarding in 15 minutes, Group B
in 30 minutes, last call in 40 minutes,’ the more valuable.”

To see the full findings, which cover security process innovations and
traveler appetite for self-service amenities, gate-side delivery, flight
information and more, download the analysis here: The
Airport Delight Report: Humans vs. Machines

About OAG

OAG is a leading global travel data provider, that has been powering the
growth and innovation of the air travel ecosystem since 1929.

Every day, we support millions of journeys across the globe, enabling a
simpler, seamless and more enjoyable travel experience. With the world’s
largest network of schedules and status data, and leading-edge analytics
tools, we enable our customers to make smarter decisions, better adapt
to change and create exceptional customer experiences.

We partner with some of the biggest global brands, airports, airlines,
travel operators and fast-growing start-ups to design the best services
available today, and the finest innovations of tomorrow.

Headquartered in the UK, OAG has global operations in the USA,
Singapore, Japan, Lithuania and China.

For more information, visit: and
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