Imagine you reach an airport to board a flight and a notification pops on your phone guiding you to the airline’s check-in and bag-drop area.
Imagine you reach an airport to board a flight and a notification pops on your phone guiding you to the airline’s check-in and bag-drop area. You finish the check-in procedure, clear security and your phone pushes a direction map and reminder of the departure gate for your flight. You enter the food zone and your phone pushes a list of restaurants at the airport. While you’re eating, you get another message saying boarding for your flight has begun. Seems like an ideal air travel experience Over the next three years, majority of airlines and airports are planning to invest in mobile services for passengers to improve air traveling for staff and passengers, using technology, sensors and beacons.
Aviation technology group SITA came out with a report listing out changing scenarios in air travel using connected technology and the internet of things.
With over 83 per cent air travel passengers globally, carrying a smartphone during air travel, the device can be used to provide a connected end to end experience for passengers.
Use of technology during air travel has increasingly being seen as a part of passenger’s routine indicated by numbers, such as, an 80 percent increase in the number of check-ins done via smartphones. As a personal device, use of smartphones indicates an inclination of passengers to use their own technology.
As an air travel how many times have you struggled at the departure gate with your hands full, trying to find that email or piece of paper containing your travel itinerary that grants you entry in to the airport
“Now your smartphone might be able to make it easier for you,” says Nigel Pickford, director of Marketing Operations and Market Insight at SITA.
When a passenger reaches the departure gate, a beacon installed at the gate will speak to the passenger’s smartphone and allow or deny access to them through reading the travel plan on their phone. Innovations like these are what airport authorities and airlines are increasingly seeking to leverage technology in making air travel easier for both passengers and airlines, Mr. Pickford said.
Airport authorities forecast that mobile check-in will be the number one choice of passengers by 2018. Already, over two-thirds of air traveling passengers use self-service channels for check-ins and downloading boarding pass.
International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Fast Travel Program aims to achieve a self-service experience for 80 percent global passengers by 2020.
It covers six key stages in the journey: check-in, bags-ready-to-go, document scanning, self-boarding, flight-rebooking and bag recovery. At each of these stages, manual intervention can be highly reduced using technology and the internet of things.
In case of a real time luggage tracking system, beacons detect the luggage arriving on the baggage carousel and send a message to passenger announcing the arrival of luggage with the carousel number.
“The app reading in to passenger’s behaviour can also suggest book shops, shopping malls inside the airport based on their location,” Mr. Pickford says.
Many airports have already been adopting these practices. European low cost carrier EasyJet partnered with London’s Gatwick Airport in April 2015 to launch, an app that combines live data from the airport’s systems with Google indoor maps, passenger booking details, location and flight time to provide personalized instructions and updates for passengers. These include check-in reminders, directions to bag-drop, departures and gate location, plus real-time gate and baggage belt push notification direct to smartphones.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai has also launched an indoor navigation app T2 that assists passengers with interactive walk-through experience to locate anything at the airport.