The proportion of "silver-haired" people traveling has increased, how to travel with peace of mind? [Airport, airlines push love service to help check-in, etc.; Experts recommend the launch of the "unaccompanied elderly" service]

With the arrival of winter, the travel of the "wintering" elderly has begun, and the "silver-haired people" who travel with large suitcases in the airport terminal have become an important group of passengers. Statistics from Capital Airport and tourism and vacation platforms show that since the November holiday, the proportion of elderly people traveling is gradually increasing.

In the interview, the reporter found that how to make the "silver-haired" travel smoothly has become an important aspect of airport and airline passenger services. In addition, airlines do not have an age limit when it comes to seniors purchasing tickets. Civil aviation experts suggest that to promote the aging transformation of civil aviation, airlines can develop more humane products for elderly passengers, such as launching "unaccompanied elderly" travel services and setting up love seats in the cabin to make travel more convenient for the elderly.

The proportion of elderly passengers traveling by air is gradually increasing

Recently, when interviewing at the Capital Airport, the reporter found that there are many elderly people who travel with groups, or travel with their old partners and friends. On October 10, while interviewing at the Capital Airport, the reporter met Mr. Sha, who was flying to Hainan with his wife and children for the winter. Mr. Sha, who is 13 years old and physically tough, spends the winter in Hainan with his wife and children in mid-October.

Mr. Wu, 83 years old this year, recently returned to Beijing by plane from his hometown of Kunming, "I travel back and forth between Beijing and Kunming four times a year, and I usually go back to my hometown when I choose a ticket in the off-season. Mr. Wu told reporters that every time he goes to and from Beijing, his daughter buys a ticket online and chooses a seat in advance, and he checks in at the airport and checks in his luggage. ”

According to Bai Xueli, director of service management of the terminal management department of Capital Airport, the team of service ambassadors of Capital Airport recently served about 300 special passengers per month, and the love service area received about 1500,90 passengers per month, of which more than 60% were elderly passengers over <> years old, and about half of them were elderly passengers traveling for the first time. Since the beginning of this year, the number of elderly passengers has continued to increase.

Qunar statistics show that with the end of the Mid-Autumn Festival National Day holiday, the national tourism market has gradually returned to rationality from being hot, and the decline in air ticket and hotel prices has allowed more independent travelers to choose to travel after the holiday, and the proportion of elderly people over 60 years old has increased. Qunar's big data shows that the proportion of elderly trips during the "Eleventh" long holiday is only 7%, and the proportion of elderly trips after the long holiday gradually increases, and as of October 10, the elderly accounted for 18% of the trips. In addition, orders for elderly group tour products increased significantly, increasing by 10% compared with last week.

Most of the users of the flight steward app are young passengers, but in recent years, the number of elderly passengers counted by big data has also gradually increased. From January 1 to October 1, the proportion of passengers aged 10 and above was about 16% of the number of passengers counted by the platform.

Airport Ambassadors are available to assist with check-in, baggage drop-off, and more

With the gradual increase in the number of elderly passengers, airports and airlines have launched caring services with the characteristics of "silver-haired people".

Taking Mr. Sha as an example, when he and his wife arrived at Terminal 10 of Capital Airport on the morning of October 13, the reporter saw two large suitcases placed on the luggage trolley, in addition, the old couple was carrying two large backpacks. Mr. Sha's wife made an appointment in advance for the bank's VIP lounge at the airport, but the couple who booked this service for the first time could not find where the lounge was, and in desperation found the Beijing Capital Airport Service Ambassador.

When the service ambassador asked Mr. Sha's needs, he suggested that the old couple go directly to the love service area of the airport to rest, "You can sit in the love area for a while, we will watch your flight time, and we can accompany you to check in your luggage and go through the security check." In the terminal, there is also our love area. After listening to the introduction of the service ambassador, Mr. Sha immediately decided to go to the airport service area with his wife to rest, he said: "The main thing is that the airport service ambassador can accompany us to check in, check in baggage, and pass through the security check. We are old, it is difficult to carry these two pieces of luggage, and with the help of the airport ambassador, our old couple can save some effort. ”

The reporter saw that the love service area was equipped with a comfortable large sofa, and the staff at the airport also sent mineral water to the elderly. Wang Lili, director of the passenger service department of Terminal 3 of the Capital Airport VIP Company, said that in the future, the love service area will also be equipped with activities suitable for the elderly, "For example, the elderly like to write calligraphy, we will place books, pens, ink and paper, so that the elderly can spend the waiting time happily and easily." In addition, in addition to the love service area, all information counters in the Capital Airport terminal have winter clothes storage services, which is especially suitable for the elderly who travel from the north to the south for the winter, and the elderly can "travel light" to fly. It is understood that the winter clothes storage service is from October 10 to March 1 of the following year.

Call the service hotline to make an appointment for love service

How to book a caring service for elderly travellers? Xu Hong, duty director of the passenger service department of the Capital Airport VIP Company, introduced that passengers can make reservations 010 hours in advance through the Beijing Capital Airport service hotline 96158-24 or the "Beijing Capital International Airport" mini program, "We have opened a special seat to serve elderly passengers. All services are free of charge. Xu Hong also said that if the elderly do not have an appointment, they can also contact the airport staff for help after arriving at the airport.

Hou Xiaoyu is one of the staff members of the Special Passenger Care Special Desk at Capital Airport. At her desk, in addition to the computer and phone, there is also a pen and a thick notebook, neatly recording the caller number and specific needs of each appointment for love service. Hou Xiaoyu said: "After receiving the passenger's call, I must first ask the elderly what needs they have, such as where to pick up the elderly, whether they need assistance with check-in, baggage check-in, security checks, to the boarding gate, and whether wheelchair services are required." In addition, the passenger's phone number, flight number, etc. must be registered. After recording this information in a notebook, she transcribed it into a computer system. Finally, through the office system, the travel needs of the elderly are quickly communicated to the staff of the love service area of the terminal. The day before the elderly travel, the staff of the Love Service Zone will contact the elderly or their families again to confirm the service information to ensure the smooth travel of the elderly.

In addition, some airlines have also opened love services for the elderly. According to Air China's customer service staff, passengers can consult and make appointments 24 hours in advance, including assistance with security checks, assistance in placing or picking up their belongings, and wheelchair services. China Southern Airlines provides ground guidance and drop-off services for seniors over 70 years old, and also only needs to make an appointment 24 hours in advance. Juneyao Airlines can also provide guidance services for elderly passengers.

In order to facilitate the travel of the elderly, Qunar platform has launched a number of service protection measures, including special personnel to assist passengers to complete check-in at the airport, baggage check-in, ticket refunds and changes, etc. In addition, the elderly can also book a "baggage to home" service, where the staff will pick up the luggage at the door, and deliver the luggage directly to the designated place of the destination on the accompanying flight, and passengers can track the baggage status throughout the process.

■ Expert opinions

Develop more user-friendly products for elderly travelers

Qi Qi, deputy dean of the School of Economics and Management of Guangzhou Civil Aviation Vocational and Technical College, said that recently, with the recovery of flights and passengers, the number of elderly passengers and child passengers has increased, which reflects the structural changes in aviation consumers. It is worth noting that in the past, elderly passengers were often not the focus of airline attention, but with the advent of the "silver economy", airlines should embrace this new consumption structure more and develop more humanized products for elderly passengers.

"Airlines' 'unaccompanied minor' services are very mature, and airlines can also develop 'unaccompanied minor' travel services for elderly passengers," Qi said. "In addition, for elderly travelers traveling alone or in groups, relevant parties can also strengthen guidance and services.

Qi Qi suggested that airlines can strengthen the tips and publicity of special meals, "Older people may have underlying medical conditions, so airlines can develop sugar-free meals, or provide softer meals." After the airline identifies the elderly passengers through the booking information, it can push special meal services to them as soon as possible for the elderly passengers to choose. "In addition, the aircraft cabin can also be equipped with love seats to make it more convenient for the elderly to travel.

Beijing News reporter Wu Tingting

Beijing News, October 2023, 10, version A24