It’s official. Europeans are happiest when they are in full  control of their travel experience.

They lead the world in ‘Careful Planner’ traveller types, SITA reports in its 2016 Passenger IT Trends Survey .

  • 36% of Europeans are careful planners, whereas the global average is 34%
passenger-it-trends-survey-factsheet-europe_pdf__page_2_of_2__1
Source: SITA 

Europeans are also HUGE travel website users.

  • 80% prefer to book online
  • 35% check-in online
  • 31% get their boarding passes online

By comparison, among global counterparts:

  • 75% prefer to book online
  • 31% check-in online
  • 11% get their boarding passes online

All this controlled and careful planning pays off in smiles for Europe’s travellers.

  • 85% of European passengers report they’re pleased pink when travelling by air—possibly helped by the ready availability of online, mobile, and kiosk services in the region which give ‘Careful Planners’ a thrill.
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Source: SITA

Those happy feelings include a more enjoyable time at the airport.

  • 92% of European passengers give hanging out at the airport a big thumbs up

But what do these prepped and peppy Eurotrippers do while they dwell at the terminal?

SITA Reports Europe’s Top-5 Terminal-tainment Faves:

  • 85% Reading a newspaper
  • 82% Reading a book
  • 80% Shopping
  • 80% Listening to music
  • 79% Eating and drinking

This is very good news for European airport concessionaires. Except! Do it right, or don’t bother.

The SITA survey finds that giving passengers a poor quality dining, entertainment or retail offering is actually worse than offering nothing at all.

Europeans are just as bummed as their global counterparts during the security screening, passport control, and baggage retrieval parts of the trip.

passenger-it-trends-survey-factsheet-europe_pdf__page_2_of_2_

“Airlines and airports across Europe are serving passengers well with 85% happy throughout their journey,” says Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe. “As is the case worldwide, there is an opportunity to transform the experience at security, border control and baggage collection – the steps of the journey where currently the least amount of self-service technology is deployed.”

I believe this is due to the ‘Careful Traveller’ need for control. After all, EU airports are quite efficient in these areas. A number of them have modernised their systems to expedite passenger flow. Yet, when the digital wait-time monitor at security shows anything over 15 minutes, we get flustered. Good thing we’re not grappling day-to-day with TSA queues in the U.S.

Take heart: better tech to streamline these prickly processes is coming soon to an airport near you—wherever you are.

But Europeans aren’t willing to wait.

They are literally taking matters in their own hands by travelling with high-tech devices.

Tablets are more popular among Europeans than anywhere else across the globe!

  • Almost half of all Europeans (46%) travel with a tablet, which makes Europe a rich market for BYOD entertainment.
  • 83% of European travellers carry a smartphone
  • 9% have a smart watch

And that 12% of ‘Hyperconnected’ European traveller types wouldn’t dream of leaving home without at least one digital pal to make the journey sweeter.

I know because I’m one of those gadget heads myself, as determined by the SITA Traveller Quiz. If you haven’t taken the SITA Quiz yet, I recommend it. It’s a trip!

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