Research released today from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) shows that airport security procedures are the leading causes of stress amongst business travellers. Sixty-six per cent of respondents cited the unpredictable length of time spent at security screening points and the frustrating inconsistencies in security procedures as the primary contributors to stress levels. The second biggest cause of stress cited by business travellers was travelling to and from airports (19 per cent), with check-in (8 per cent ) and other passengers (6 per cent) ranking low on the list of key stresses.
Unsurprisingly 83 per cent of passengers find travelling more stressful than a year ago, with passengers citing the most stressful part of clearing security is the lack of uniformity in airport guidelines coupled with confusing rules and lengthy queues at security points.
With the international growth in passenger figures showing no sign of a slowdown, the volume of people transiting through airports is set to place increasing pressure on airport security facilities. In April 2007 IATA (International Air Transport Association) released figures showing passenger demand was up 7 per cent during the first quarter of 2007 in comparison with the previous year. This consistent growth in passenger numbers when read in conjunction with SAS’ recent findings suggest that if action is not taken soon to improve security procedures passenger stress is only set to rise.
Over three quarters of SAS respondents (80 per cent) believe their journeys would be made less stressful by improved security measures. Of paramount importance to respondents was the need for greater uniformity in security procedures. One business traveller commented, “There is no consistency among airports regarding security check-in. Security rules regarding liquids for transit passengers differ from airport to airport.”
Lars Ove-Filipson, General Manager SAS UK & Ireland said: “Travelling for business or leisure can be a stressful experience for a number of reasons. It is important that service providers such as airlines and airports work to minimize unnecessary stress to passengers while they are in transit. With this in mind, SAS has worked proactively with the airport authorities to introduce fast track security measures in both Copenhagen and Stockholm.”
This latest SAS study sees passengers calling for more expedient and transparent security procedures yet few respondents commented on who they believed should bear the burden of investment cost. In a previous SAS poll into the cost of improving security technology (October 2006), 79 per cent of respondents felt that governments should foot the bill for the cost of improving security procedures. Eleven per cent felt the airport authorities should cover the cost of investing in security and just ten per cent of respondents believed that passengers themselves should pay.
Ove-Filipson continued, “SAS believes Fast Track is an excellent way in which airlines can work together with airport authorities to streamline the security process. We are exploring how we can introduce our model to the UK in response to the ever increasing demand for more sophisticated and expedient security procedures. SAS Fast Track is not only available to SAS Gold Card holders and business class passengers but is also accessible through the SAS’ premium economy product, Economy Extra.”