Air travel is all set to go high-tech. Airlines across the world are deploying technology in unique ways to improve service and attract more customers. According to a recent report, the global airline industry is expected to reach an estimated $832.8 billion in 2020 with a CAGR of 3.7% over the next seven years (2013-2020).
To tap this potential, airlines are now banking on tech innovations. Be it self-service stations or Wi-Fi services- airlines are putting their best efforts to influence a passenger's decision to fly with a particular airline. As a result, some of them are making their gate areas more welcoming for laptop and smartphone users. Others are developing apps and mobile websites to woo travelers. The two prominent areas where technology is being deployed are at the- airport and in-flight.
For instance, Canada's second-biggest airline WestJet has introduced self-serve baggage tagging for passengers. Self-serve baggage tagging enables the traveler to check in using the mobile, web or kiosk check-in option. WestJet is soon expected to roll out a guest notification system that sends email alerts travelers, allowing travelers to check in remotely.
The use of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology at airports is also expected to grow in the coming years. Recently, in a major breakthrough, Japan Airlines launched NFC boarding passes. According to airline industry IT and communications services provider SITA, airline passengers will be able to use NFC to routinely tap their mobile phones to pass through security checkpoints and boarding gates by 2018.
Meanwhile, in-flight internet connectivity has progressed to become a near necessity from being merely a fun perk in 2012.United Airlines is all set to become the first US airline to offer Wi-Fi during overseas flights. Ranging from $3.99 to $19.99, the airline will offer a standard and accelerated service. Delta Air Lines too is offering a new iPad app with a 'Jet' that feeds real-time data regarding the flight position into maps and satellite imagery of the surrounding area. This touchscreen version also pulls out location-specific data from your Facebook and Twitter networks.
Clearly, if an airline has to target the next generation of passengers, it must adopt a different approach. Tech-savvy airlines will continue to push boundaries to influence more travelers. In the coming days, there will be more innovation in linking airline technology with that of the customers. Are you ready for a flight of the future?