Are long lines at airports an endangered species?
That’s what a study by Hong Kong based CAP Strategic Research suggests.
“Passengers no longer enjoy air travel, especially those based in Europe and the US,” the report says. “They regard flying as expensive, stressful, time-consuming, and uncomfortable.”
Given the choice, most passengers would prefer relaxing in an airport lounge such as the Swiss Lounge at Zurich Airport in Switzerland (pictured above) to waiting in long lines or enduring invasive security checks.
Big Changes in Store at Airports
CAP has taken a look into its crystal ball, and this – it believes – is what air travel will be like in 2025.
- Pre-screened “Trusted Travelers” will be able to bypass security, which will focus on “high risk” passengers.
- Emigration and Immigration will be computerized and streamlined, eliminating long lines.
- There will be no shops at airports, just showrooms – purchases will be delivered.
- Quieter airplanes will allow airports to operate 24 hours a day, resulting in a huge boost in capacity without capital expenditure.
- Boarding procedures will be streamlined, with passengers checking in on line and heading straight to the gate without having to physically check in at the airport.
- There will no checked in luggage – passengers will carry everything on board, with larger storage areas in the cabin.
Some of these measures have already been adopted in a handful of locations around the world.
In Hong Kong, for example, residents have been using smart ID cards for several years now. Embedded with computer chips, these have drastically cut waiting times at customs when leaving or entering the former British Crown Colony. Only residents, however, currently benefit.
CAP expects similar procedures to be adopted at airports around the world until lines all but disappear.
Passengers will have to learn to pack lighter, but they will benefit from an enhanced travel experience and lower fares, with more time to eat, drink, and shop – and less time waiting in line.
Airlines will save money on salaries because fewer employees will be needed. They will have more scheduling flexibility and be able to operate planes more efficiently because airports will be open 24/7.
Airports will be able to do away with check in counters and baggage claim areas, redeploying this space to more profitable uses while increasing capacity.
CAP Strategic Research provides market research services covering China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.