Changes in check-in behaviour

We have recently conducted surveys of passengers arriving at check-in at a number of UK airports and there is a discernible trend for passengers arriving much earlier. Why is this?

We are putting it down to Flight Anxiety post-COVID and also related to Brexit.

  1. The lasting impact of COVID restrictions

The constantly changing rules have made people more anxious about the paperwork needed to fly. Even today many passengers are not sure whether or not they are free to fly without COVID paperwork. Spending extra time to deal with any anomalies is a fair trade off.

  1. Being out of the habit of flying

It’s not just the potential paperwork required, a lot of passengers haven’t flown since before the pandemic and are feeling increased anxiety due to not having gone through the process for so long so are allowing more time.

  1. Disruption, delays and queues

Some passengers are arriving early as they are worried about delays and queues after seeing lots of coverage in the press in the summer of 2022 when airports initially struggled to cope with the first post-pandemic busy summer.

  1. Brexit

The UK leaving the European Union continues to cause uncertainty. What visas are needed and for where? There can be cases where families are split – some members with an EU passport and some members without.

In addition to this, many UK travellers are still unsure of the passport validity rules that came into force since Brexit. Before Brexit, Brits could travel up to and including the expiry date on their passports but EU regulations now classify UK citizens as ‘third country nationals,’ meaning the rules have changed. If a UK passport holder wants to visit the EU, they will need a passport which was issued within the previous 10 years and is valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave the EU country you are visiting.

As a consequence of these early arrivals some airports have had to provide additional space for passengers arriving long before their check-in is open, this is proving to be an issue especially for constrained airports. Our recent blog on Demand Forecast Planning goes into more detail on how capacity challenges such as this can be addressed.

Our award winning team of operational and analytical experts are dedicated to analysing, modelling and optimising every aspect of an airport. Specialising in airport demand and capacity planning, we are trusted to realise capacity and solve complex operational challenges.

For an independent oversight or using AiQ to provide original thought we are able to leverage our wide experience to the unique setting found in each airport.

For more information about how we can assist you with any of your challenges in 2024, contact us today.