Emerging Technologies to Solve Passenger Pain Points at the Airport

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Friday, 25 March 2011

A new industry report, Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow, identifies changing attitudes to the modern airport and charts the technologies that over the next ten years will attempt to solve passenger frustrations whilst also delivering the much anticipated total travel experience.

Authored by Norm Rose of Travel Tech Consulting Inc, the report reveals that passengers across the world are regularly still suffering significant problems whilst at the airport including when checking-in, collecting and dropping off baggage and passing through security checks.

Designed to stimulate new thinking and innovation in the travel sector, Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow uses primary data from a global traveller study conducted by JD Power on behalf of Amadeus, which surveyed 2, 978 travellers.

Key findings of the study include:

 Travellers demand improvements in disruption management and baggage handling: At 43%, disruption management ranked as the single most important area where travellers would like to see improvement. Furthermore, innovations and improvements in baggage handling are important to 34% of travellers with a similar percentage having suffered delays when checking-in, depositing or picking up baggage.

Demand for new information services and self-service is high: Just under 40% of travellers would adopt services that delivered real-time information to their mobile devices on flight and baggage status, as well as directions at the airport. A third of respondents require greater self-service options including the ability to purchase additional services at airport kiosks and self-tagging options for luggage.

Airport experiences impact perceptions of airlines: On average, if customers are made to queue for longer than 30 minutes in order to check-in, their perception of the airline used swings negatively by 10%.

Looking ahead to 2020, the report paints an optimistic picture of how specific emerging technologies will be applied to solve the challenges of the airport experience including:

 One-touch check-in and progress tracking: Near field communication (NFC) enabled smartphones and tablet computers could unlock the possibility of one-touch check-in, if airports deploy NFC sensors throughout the airport. This would maximise ease of check-in for the passenger, and could even enable airlines to track their passengers through the airport, achieving greater efficiencies.

 Permanent baggage tags: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is being introduced to create permanent baggage tags that recognise the passengers frequent flyer details and allow the tracking of the bag through the airport, onto the airplane and off again at the final destination. This will enable real-time baggage information an especially valuable service in times of disruption.

 Roaming agents with tablet computers: Given the proliferation of tablet computers, roaming agents could soon be available within the airport to provide information to passengers as necessary, or to aid the desk check-in process at peak times.

Julia Sattel, VP Airline IT, Amadeus, said, We see a bright future for those players that are willing to collaborate in order to overcome the challenges presented by airport operations. Airlines, airport operators, ground handlers and retailers must work together if the vision presented in this report is to be realised. Our priority is to help deliver a better experience for the passenger by providing solutions that underpin how airlines and airports better relate to their customers.

Norm Rose, Travel Tech Consulting, Inc and the reports author added, It is clear that self service and mobility are key themes of the airport of tomorrow. Ubiquitous connectivity means the passenger is always online and therefore in turn expects real-time communication. Even simple advances such as verifying that a passengers baggage is on-board the aircraft can greatly help to minimise frustration and uncertainty. That said, in order to genuinely achieve this vision of the airport of tomorrow, airlines and airports must invest in new systems that automate manual tasks, share information and provide proactive communication to the passenger.

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