Air travelers want airlines to deliver more real-time information to their personal devices, including updates on flight status (82%), baggage (49%) and wait-times at security and immigration checkpoints (46%), according to survey data from IATA’s latest Global Passenger Survey (GPS), released Oct. 2.

The survey polled 10,408 respondents from 145 countries.

According to the results, 56% of passengers polled described real-time baggage tracking as “a must.” Airlines and airports are facilitating this by implementing tracking at major journey points including loading and unloading, as well as by the proposed introduction of RFID inlays in all baggage tags manufactured after 2020.

IATA said 73% of passengers said they prefer receiving updates on their baggage through SMS or a Smartphone app, marking a 10% gain from 2017.

Regarding data usage, a majority (65%) of  travelers are willing to share their personal data to gain expedited security, and 45% want to replace their passports with biometric identification. IATA has been working to shuttle passengers from curb-to-gate using a single biometric token as part of its One ID project, but the group said concerns over data privacy remain.

“As we move more and more towards digital processes, passengers need to be confident that their personal data is safe. IATA is working to establish a trust framework that ensures secure data sharing, legal compliance and privacy,” IATA SVP-airport, passenger, cargo and security Nick Careen said.

As for self-service options, 84% of passengers want automated check-in, and 47% prefer to check in online with their mobile device. Just 16% of passengers surveyed said they favor traditional check-in. Similarly, 70% of passengers want self-service baggage check-in, compared to 33% who would rather an agent tag their bag.

To be sure, some passengers still favor the human touch. For travelers age 65 and older, 25% have a strong preference for traditional check-in and 42% for bag-drop processes. And following travel disruptions, 40% of passengers of all ages prefer to resolve situations over the phone and 37% through face-to-face interaction.

Passengers identified airport security/border control and boarding processes as the two biggest frustrations of flying. The top three complaints regarding security were the intrusiveness of removing personal items (57%), removing laptops and large electronic devices from cabin bags (48%) and the lack of consistency in airport screening procedures (41%).

The three most favored ways to improve the boarding experience were identified as implementing more efficient queuing at boarding gates (64%), adding more overhead space on aircraft (42%) and not requiring passengers to queue on the air bridge (33%).

Ben Goldstein,