Blog seriesMeeting passenger expectations

Blog series: Eight challenges at the security checkpoint and how to address them
Airports are facing multiple challenges worldwide. Whether they expect a year over year passenger growth or they are confronted with a full stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they must continuously optimise their operations to maintain passenger satisfaction and improve their competitiveness in the market. This series of blogs identifies eight major challenges many airports face in security screening - a critical step in a passenger's journey.

Part 2: Meeting passenger expectations

To attract both airlines and passengers, airports must maintain high levels of performance and consider the experience for travellers as a top priority. In this second blog of my airport security series, we’ll reflect on how airports can use technology to improve their passengers’ experience. 

Focusing on passengers

Airlines expect that the travel process will positively contribute to their customers’ experience. This is because happy passengers are more likely to reuse and recommend their services. A disappointing experience can negatively impact airports as unsatisfied travellers tend to spend less time and money in retail areas.

In our digital age, passengers expect the same level of connectivity at an airport as they do in their personal lives. According to a recent report by IATA, 65% of passengers are even willing to share additional personal information in order to speed up their processing at the airport*. As such, the development of the so-called ‘paperless journey’ is expected to come to the fore in the coming years.

Another aspect to this is the use of biometric technology, in which a person’s face is used as their identification token. There is a growing appetite for this type of service, with 45% of air travellers actually willing to choose biometric identification as a replacement for their passport*. At all times, airports must continuously focus on their passengers’ well-being when defining their processes and designing new facilities. 

Reducing wait times

One of the most stressful parts of a passenger’s journey through an airport is the security checkpoint, where long waiting times and confusion can lead to a chaotic experience. Long queues have often been the subject of negative attention on social media in recent years, with many people able to publicly express their feelings. 

In fact, 57% of people would rather not go through the security screening process at all*. To address this major pain point, airports can turn to innovative solutions such as automated screening lanes (ASLs) and centralised image processing (CIP), which can significantly increase throughput at the checkpoint, reduce waiting times and improve the experience for passengers. 

Important considerations

Although the passenger experience is impacted by waiting times, other factors should also be considered when designing a new security checkpoint. For example, not all travellers will be familiar with the screening process and many will need guidance from agents. 

However, during peak times, agents may not have the time to devote equally between all users, including inexperienced travellers. Noise levels can also be fairly high, and passengers will experience stress if they are not able to physically see their belongings after divesting. 

The optimal ASL must seamlessly factor in a number of other considerations. For example, the design of the lane needs to be developed with the passenger in mind. Curved divest stations naturally improve the flow of traffic to prevent the checkpoint becoming too crowded. 

The divest stations also need to be equipped with sensors and lights to let passengers know when a station is available. Incorporating CT (computed tomography) screening technology also makes the security process more comfortable for passengers, because they don’t have to remove all belongings from their bags. 

Inherent flexibility

Our checkpoint security lane is the only solution that responds to all these design challenges. It is user-friendly and creates a more ergonomic and stress-free working environment for agents by removing many manual tasks. This allows them to focus on offering a better passenger experience. 

Due to the inherent flexibility of our solution (and its modular design), it is also easy to integrate new hardware and software if required. In this way, we are confident of delivering a future-proof system that can continually match an airport’s requirements and adapt to changing security regulations.

Our solution removes the worry for passengers of not being able to see their possessions. This is because the only time this can occur is when their belongings are securely moving through the X-ray scanner. 

Noise levels are lowered, because our solution uses motorised rollers that are covered in rubber. We have also changed the mechanics on the tray return system to further reduce noise levels at the lane, as well as ensure that trays are continually made available to passengers. 

Of course, maintaining customer satisfaction and improving the passenger experience are important, but these goals cannot be achieved at the expense of security. Find out more about this in “Coping with increasing security requirements”. 

For further information on how to “keep up with increasing passenger traffic,” please read the first blog in our series.
Keep posted for the next episode in the Airports Security blog series and subscribe to our e-newsletter.
*IATA Global Passenger Survey Highlights, 2018.
Raúl Fernandez
Raúl Fernandez
Product Manager
Raúl Fernandez
Darren Durham
Product Manager

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