Without a doubt, technology has streamlined everything in our lives from business to pleasure. Air travel is no exception: airlines are spending money to improve their customers’ experience. We’ve all heard about the advancements in in-flight entertainment, seats that convert into beds, and the all-important increase in leg room for the average passenger. But what about advancements for the tech-savvy traveler? Well, here we have compiled eight ways in which technology has improved air travel in recent memory.
1. Digital Check In.
Nowadays about 9% of air travelers use digital tablets or smartphones to check in before boarding a flight, rather than checking in directly once they reach their terminal. Researchers from SITA, a multinational airline technology company, expect that figure to balloon to 24% in the next three years.
2. Social Media Seating.
Imagine a flight where you already know a thing or two about your neighboring fliers! Launched in 2012 by KLM Airlines, the Meet & Seat program has garnered much acclaim from various participants. In essence, the Meet & Seat program to allows its fliers to select seatmates based on shared interests via Facebook or LinkedIn.
3.Booking Flights Via Mobile.
Expedia recently reported that 48% of mobile users employ their devices for aspirational travel research. In addition, there are several apps available that cater to air traveling consumers. For example, Appi Holidays is a consumer travel app that allows a user to create their perfect holiday by providing them with a plethora of destination options and activities – ones that are either well-known or a little off the beaten path.
4. Baggage-Related Technology.
Foremost, airlines have been offering automatic luggage drop-off machines more commonly. By 2018, 74% of airline companies are expected to offer the service (from 17% today). Also by 2018, it is likely that 70% of carriers will be able to give passengers regular updates on the location of their baggage, via their smartphones (up from only 10% today).
5. In-Flight Entertainment Improvements.
Several airlines have been experimenting with this. Virgin America offers a seat-to-seat chatting system, where fliers can message others onboard and order drinks, as well as watch movies or TV, listen to music, shop, play games, or look at Google Maps. Singapore Airlines offers a similar service, fit with a USB device to look at your own personal media. Finally, Emirates and Qatar Airways have exhaustive entertainment options, with over 1500 differing types/channels of entertainment each!
6. Social Media Impact on Air Travel.
Facebook has changed the way people decide where to go on a vacation. 52% of users report that their prospective holiday destination ideas came from photos and status updates they witnessed in their Facebook feed. And since two-thirds of all air travelers have social media accounts, there has never been a better time for airlines to be active on social media channels.
7. Airport Beacons.
Many airports around the world have started to use beacon technology to improve customers’ experience. Using Bluetooth technology, travelers can use special apps to access maps of airports, as well as navigate their way to the check-in desk in their terminal.
8. In-Flight IPad Rentals.
There are a few airlines that have begun to experiment with iPad rentals, among them OpenSkies, Qantas, Jetstar, Philippine Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines. While a few of these services are free for longer flights, the average fee is ten to fifteen dollars per rental.
We no longer live in the dark ages, where passengers are provided a tiny seat with very little legroom. With the amount of tech that has grown to be a part of our personal lives, we can expect to see a great deal more technology in the works for airlines – all for the benefit of the everyday passenger.