The latest Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) 'through airport' passenger experience survey covering Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports shows that the number and variety of airport shops was the second most important aspect that passengers
said they liked about their airport experience after convenience of location.
Published yesterday, the report also notes that 54% of international passengers said they 'shopped around' the airports, compared with 45% of passengers on domestic flights.
Prepared by Peter Myant and Richard Abraham of ORC International, the survey for the CAA comprised a total of 1,619 interviews conducted between August and September 2008, with passengers rating location/convenience (29%) as the most important attribute of an airport, followed by its shops/retail outlets (14%).
Short queues at the check-in desks (11%) and general good lay-out of the airports themselves (11%) also scored highly, but no other aspect scored higher than location/convenience or the shops amongst respondents.
In addition, 60% of international passengers travelling on long-haul flights said they looked to shop at the airport, compared with 50% on short-haul international flights. At the same time, those who booked their flights through websites said they shopped around more than those who booked by phone or by another method (59% vs. 45% and 36%, respectively).
Interestingly, respondents generally expected the same standard of service at the airports regardless of how much they paid for their ticket (87%) although they accepted that the inflight level of service would at least partly be determined by the price of their ticket.
Respondents felt the maximum waiting times for passport control, security and check-in should be less than 20 minutes; and many of them stated it should be under 10 minutes (particularly for passport control). In reality, 87% of respondents checked in their bags within 20 minutes and most respondents said that they waited at security no longer than 10 minutes (74%).
Of those surveyed, 94% were aware of how many pieces of luggage they could take onboard and 97% were aware of the restrictions on the carriage of liquids. Similarly, nearly 90% were aware of the weight restrictions for hand luggage stipulated by their particular airline.
Respondents who had flown from Heathrow said they were more likely to have had an experience that exceeded expectations (48%; Gatwick, 32%; Manchester, 25%; Stansted, 28%). At the same time, passengers on full-service airlines were more likely than no-frills or charter passengers to have had a better-than-expected experience (37% vs. 28% and 29%, respectively).
Of the total number of respondents, 54% were male and 46% were female, with 62% over the age of 45.
Any readers who would like a copy of this 53-page report sent to them (free of charge) by email should contact [email protected] and it will be sent by return.