to the first issue of the PASSME newsletter.
PASSME is a Horizon 2020 funded project aiming to reduce door-to-door air travel time in the EU by 60 minutes, while improving the airport experience for all. This first issue will focus on one of the biggest issues in aviation today- baggage. Whether you are an airline struggling to find space in overhead cabins for passengers' luggage or a frequent flyer who finds juggling check-in and carry-on luggage a challenge, this issue will be of interest to you.
PASSME began in June 2015 and since then, experts from both industry and academic backgrounds have been working to achieve the project’s principal objective: to reduce unwanted airport travel time in Europe by one hour. PASSME also aims to improve passenger experience by; optimising services at the airport, developing a personalised app, modernising airport and aircraft interiors and enhancing baggage flows.
This issue on baggage research is thanks to collaboration between KLM and the Industrial Design faculty of Delft Technical University. The research focuses on all three categories of baggage; check-in, cabin and tax-free articles. We also interviewed a KLM European baggage expert, Danny Pach, Outstations Support Manager - Europe & North Africa at KLM. He tells us about cabin baggage management from the perspective of a global airline.
As this is the project’s first newsletter, we would welcome your feedback on how useful and relevant the content was for you. Please email email@example.com if you have any comments or suggestions.
We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and finding out more about our project. If you would like further information about the project, visit the website www.passme.eu and follow the project’s Twitter account @PASSME_EU.
PASSME Project Coordinator
Danny Pach is Outstations Support Manager with KLM where he works on improving the pass process within Schiphol Airport and across Europe and has over 25 years of experience in the aviation industry. He spoke to PASSME Dissemmination Partner, Rachel Galligan, about the challenges posed by cabin baggage today.
So Danny, tell us about your background in aviation.
I joined KLM when I was 19 years old. I began my career as frontline staff, moving to a managerial position for intercontinental flights in Schiphol Airport. Today, I work in International Stations with ELIA Europe. I steer 90 international airports to achieve their Key Performance.
What is the biggest change in cabin luggage trends over the past decade?
In my opinion, the biggest change over the past decade is not the amount of personal items passengers travel with, this has remained the same; but where they place their luggage. There has been a big increase in the amount of baggage passengers carry on board which in the past, would have been checked into the hold. The passenger to hold luggage ratio has reduced from 1.22 to 0.60.
Airplanes now have additional seats, which means more passengers, but without a change in storage capacity. As passengers are travelling more frequently, they are less likely to want to wait at baggage conveyor belts for check-in baggage. This adds to the congestion airlines have to manage on a daily basis on board due to cabin baggage.
What is the biggest challenge for KLM regarding cabin baggage?
While I work in the operations department, thinking more broadly about this question, I would say maintaining a balance between commercial ambitions and operational feasibility. At the minute, KLM are trying to challenge this through a number of different routes.
We have developed predictive tools to establish which routes present the most problems regarding cabin baggage volumes. We have improved communications with passengers, producing short movies explaining what they are allowed to bring with them on board. In Schiphol Airport, an automatic baggage scanner is available for passengers to find out instantly if their bag is suitable to take on board. Collectively, this will contribute to overcoming the challenge that cabin baggage management has become.
What is the best innovation you have seen in cabin baggage management?
I would have to say a push mail service issued by British Airways. The advertisement offered passengers the possibility to check-in cabin luggage in advance for fully booked flights. This allows passengers to make a decision in advance of their arrival at the airport and this in turn significantly reduces stress for them.
Regarding aircraft design, the 737 aircraft’s next generation compartments are very impressive. Before the aircrafts are purchased by KLM, larger cabin baggage bins may be installed. On-board design features have become more passenger-focussed which I think is fantastic.
What role does the relationship between aviation stakeholders play in improving cabin baggage management?
While airlines have an important role to play in communications with passengers, we only have certain touchpoints. Airports have a huge role to play in providing information to passengers. Information may be supplied through TV screens on the airport floor explaining how to stow hand baggage; in addition, over-sized bags may be stopped at security check points. I saw an example in Prague Airport where the X-ray machines were equipped with a technology to measure baggage size. Any cabin bag deemed too large by the X-ray machine was sent straight to the check-in area. Both airports and airlines fall victim to considering their own needs first-rather than taking a more team-based approach.
Finally, as a cabin baggage expert, how should passengers pack their cabin baggage to ensure it is permitted on board?
Carry one piece only, as small in size as possible. If your bag can fit under the aircraft seat on front of you, this is the only guarantee it will be allowed on board!
According to a Duty Free World Council report published in 2016, €6.2 billion of European GDP was attributed to airport duty free and travel retail in 2013. This accounts for almost 6 percent of the total revenue generated from the entire European aviation industry.
While this number is significant, it is declining year-on-year. It is clear that there is a need for duty-free shopping which is passenger-centric, convenient and transparent. In a collaborative PASSME study conducted by KLM and Delft University of Technology, passengers' attitudes towards duty free shopping both on the ground and on board were investigated. Some very clear insights were gleaned into just how passengers perceive duty-free shopping.
Key Research Findings
- The majority of interviewed passengers do not plan their duty-free shopping in advance of their arrival at the airport.
- The majority of passengers feel curious about the duty-free shops in the airport.
- From the moment passengers leave duty-free shops after making a purchase, their emotions become more negative. Carrying additional items is a burden to most passengers.
- While on-board, only 2% of passengers buy tax-free products.
- They prioritise comfort and safety on board over retail opportunities.
- From interviews, passengers would pay for an à la carte menu, games and movies and personal care e.g. massage, over duty-free items.
*Data is based on structured interviews (n=10), observations in duty free shops and online questionnaires (n=73)
‘One-Stop-Shop Duty-Free Website’
From this research, it is clear passengers need a ‘one-stop-shop’ to make duty-free shopping a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. Based on a PASSME collaboration between KLM and Schiphol Airport, a joint duty-free website was designed. The website is accessible to passengers from the moment of ticket purchase. It combines products which are available both on the ground and on board into one central location.
The site is multi-purpose, providing destination-specific information to passengers also. It suggests useful items they may need for their journey, from power adaptors and raincoats to sun cream. Passengers are provided with on-board information in advance, including movies which are available during the flight and seating upgrade options. Not only does the site improve the passenger shopping experience, it also enriches their on-board experience as a whole.
Revenues at European airports have declined almost 3 percent per passenger each year from 2010 to 2013 because of economic factors, new airline hand luggage rules and the growing challenge from online retailing. The time is now for airports and airlines to take action to combat this duty-free trend; and a collaborative duty-free website is just one of these steps.
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