API magazine
October 1, 2020

Across the globe, passengers are demanding higher levels of service. Likewise, regulators are paying closer attention to airport service provision and quality of service delivery. Competition among airports has reached new heights as structural and ownership changes bring new stakeholders and business models into the industry.

Gone are the days when airports were merely points of departure and arrival. Today, airports are complex, multifunctional travel centres offering a wide range of services. Indeed, many have non-aeronautical revenues reaching more than half of total revenues. Airports have become key drivers of social and economic progress in cities, regions and countries the world over. (1)

ACI World Experts Valerie St. James, Senior Manager, MarketResearch, ASQ, and Sevda Fevzi, Manager, ASQ tell us how the ASQprogram help airports to increase passenger satisfaction and improve business performance. We also looked how Changi Airport, Word’s Best Airport, offers their passengers an exceptional airport experience and make them feel at home.

Striving for optimal customer experience

Valerie St. James, Senior Manager, Market Research, ASQ, ACIWorld explains that striving for an optimal customer experience,airports must explore the key dimensions that contribute in creating a positive experience for passengers once they are in the terminal. To pinpoint those key dimensions, and ensure that every passenger journey touchpoint is considered,is to put yourself in your passengers’ shoes.

Throughout the journey, they are discovering the airport, they experience the service and the facilities, and they interact with the staff. What information do they need? What emotions are they experiencing? What messages are they receiving from the environment they are exposed to? All of these variables will have an impact on their overall appreciation of the process. (2)

Measuring the level of satisfaction

Valerie adds that an airport passenger can experience different emotions during Arrivals, compared to Departures, have distinctive priorities and a different state of mind.

To deliver the best customer experience, ACI recommends that airports endeavour to excel in both the inbound (Arrivals) and outbound (Departures) phases of the passenger journey, and therefore they invite member airports to implement both the ASQ Departures and Arrivals survey programs. Doing so is also the only way to gain a 360 view, and feedback from the entire passenger journey through the airport.

The AirportCustomer Experience Accreditation program helps airports assess and improve their approach to customer experience management and identify new practices that can be developed in the short and long-term. (2)

Surveying passengers at Arrivals/Departures

Valerie St. James: ‘The departure experience at an airport can mark the beginning of a trip for a passenger,whilst for others, it is the beginning of the return trip. The same logic can be applied to passengers arriving at an airport where they have either reached their destination or have returned back home. In both cases, the passenger experiences two starts and two ends to the journey through an airport, which can have an impact on the onward journey or form a lasting memory of an airport.

The Arrivals process is part of the entire passenger journey. There can be more or less steps to be reached depending on the context. For instance, is the passenger arriving internationally or domestically? Do they have checked in luggage or carry on only?

One thing all these different types of passengers have in common is that they are anxious to complete the process. It may be someone is waiting for them, they are on their way to a meeting, or they are just tired from their trip: this feeling of being rushed puts the passenger in a certain mood with a specific set of expectations.

And this state of mind puts pressure on airports, as the expectations in terms of efficiency are high. The 2018 ASQ results show that delayed passengers or passengers that had to wait on the runway before accessing the terminal had a significantly lower overall satisfaction of the entire Arrivals journey.

When surveying the passengers at Arrivals, emotions and perceptual evaluation of services must be considered:

– The overall flow at each step of the process: immigration, baggage claim and customs

–The overall perception of the security, the ambience, the walking distances,wayfinding, the organisation of the waiting line, and the availability and helpfulness of the staff.

Once the range of emotions and perceptions have been identified, measuring the level of satisfaction for each of those elements provides airports with the full picture of customer experience sentiments.

It will also offer the level of details necessary to support improvement initiatives prioritisation, and potentially add additional resources where necessary. Repeating measurement of the customer experience satisfaction over time is an effective way to understand the ROI of your initiatives. (2) 

To read the full article, click here.

For more information about ASQ and how to apply for Airport Customer Experience Accreditation, go to

Available in 48 languages, contact for more information.

Changi Airport: continuous focus on improving the customer’s experience

In March 2019 Changi Airport won for the seventh consecutive year the title of World’sBest Airport. This exceptional achievement is the result of the continuous focus on improving the customer’s airport experience and innovating with new product and service features.

Creating a positively surprising experience at Changi is at the heart of everything they do. They offer a wide array of facilities, such as movie theaters, entertainment zones, snooze lounges and gardens. (3)

While waiting for their flight, passengers at Changi Airport can watch a film in the movie theaters.

Or even play video games.

The playground and cartoons keep young ones entertained.

Take a quick nap or just relax in comfortable, free-to-use snooze lounges.

To discover all the services and facilities at Changi Airport, go to

High-tech facilities

Next to Changi’s wide array of entertainment and comfort facilities, the airport also strives to optimize the customers experience by offering high tech facilities such as FAST self-service options.

Changi’s new Terminal 4 (T4), which started operations on 31 October 2017, is in many ways, a good illustration of Changi’s determination to innovate and strive for the better.

T4 is fitted out with the entire suite of Fast and Seamless Travel(FAST) self-service options, from self-service check-in and bag-drop, through to immigration, and on to self-boarding gates. Together with facial recognition technology, which eliminates the need for manual identity verification by staff throughout a passenger’s departure journey, T4 has been designed to be one of the most modern and high-tech facilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Introducing self-service options does not mean that the airport is doing away with customer service. In fact, self-service options will enable Changi Airport and its ground handling companies to optimise manpower resources required for traditionally labour intensive processes, and free up time for staff to continue to deliver a first-class Changi Experience, to assist passengers who may be in need of help.

To read more about Changi Airport and their innovative initiatives, go to

Reference list:

(1) Airport Service Quality – Retrieved September 17, 2019 from
World’s Best Airports are announced for 2019| SKYTRAX. (2019, May 18). Retrieved September 16, 2019,
(2) Be the best airport in customer experience in both departures and arrivals’ by Valérie St-James | Dec 1, 2018, retrieved from
(3) Airport Operations | ChangiAirport Group. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2019, from
(4) Changi Airport Singapore: Imagineering passenger experience by ACIWorld, Nov 1, 2018, retrieved from