Investigating passenger behavior in airport terminals with multisource data: Recall bias and time budget effects

Yi Shih Chung*, Kuan Hung Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Passenger activities in terminals can be understood better in the current era, when sensors are pervasive throughout airports. This study demonstrated the usefulness of combining multiple-source data to investigate passenger behavior in airports. Objective time-use and terminal activity participation data of 266 air passengers’ behavior at Taipei Songshan International Airport were collected from beacons, a self-developed mobile application, and questionnaires. The study first investigated recall errors generated from self-report questionnaires, an approach commonly used in previous studies with a retrospective design. The study then assessed the participation and duration of terminal activities conducted by passengers with standard, nested, and mixed multiple discrete-continuous extreme value models. The analysis results revealed that recall errors were associated with activity choice and duration and passenger characteristics. These errors were not random but systematic and could potentially lead to biased results in retrospective studies solely based on self-report questionnaires. The estimation results of extreme value models generally confirmed the expected association of terminal activity choice with passenger characteristics, such as more frequent retail store visits in female passengers than in male passengers. However, the associations of passenger characteristics with activity duration could be consistent with or opposite to those with activity choice; for example, frequent flyers tended to consume food and beverages (F&B) more frequently and spend a longer time in restaurants whereas passengers having a long free dwell time were less likely than those having a short free dwell time to consume F&B but the duration was relatively long on average. Managerial implications for airports and retailers and recommendations for future air passenger behavioral studies were provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-429
Number of pages20
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Air passenger
  • Recall bias
  • Spatiotemporal trajectory
  • Time-use


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