Emerging technology is sending shockwaves of reforms in every business sector and air travel is no exception. From self-driving robots, seamless internet, biometric identification, and online check-in, a revolution is evident. Here we explore some of the most significant trends […]
Emerging technology is sending shockwaves of reforms in every business sector and air travel is no exception. From self-driving robots, seamless internet, biometric identification, and online check-in, a revolution is evident.
Here we explore some of the most significant trends that are changing the flying experience
The implementation of biometric technology is fast gaining momentum in the airline industry. More airlines have introduced facial recognition apps to fast track and make the check-in of passengers easy. Biometric profiling of passengers eliminates the use of physical travel documents and enhances efficient security control at airport entry points and aircraft boarding gates.
British Airways rolled out its biometric boarding service for international travelers. Using biometric identification, customers only produce their passports and boarding passes when going through vital security checks.
A Traveler Taking Facial Recognition Test
Source: National Public Radio
Today, smartphones have instant, hassle-free solutions for even complex procedures. Airlines now find it easy to connect with their passengers throughout the check-in process using mobile apps.
To achieve a better customer experience, Air New Zealand, for instance, introduced an online check-in service for passenger screening. Using Air New Zealand’s mobile app, passengers select their seats, but tokens for a bag drop and get a boarding pass before arriving at the airport.
CT Scanning for Liquids
On August 9, 2006, the British Metropolitan police thwarted a planned attack on a series of airlines scheduled for departure from London’s Heathrow Airport. The terrorists planned to use Acetone peroxide explosives disguised as soft drinks. As a result, most countries banned passengers from carrying liquid containers exceeding 100 ml while boarding aircraft.
However, the travel ban might not live longer, thanks to the use of Computer Tomography (CT) scans. The technology combines an array of X-ray measurements to create a 3D model of an object, including liquid content. Already, giant manufacturers such as Smiths Detection are conducting trials for CT Scanning of liquids at airports.
The robotic revolution in aviation has no doubt, changed the flying experience for airline customers. There is a significant increase in the use of robots for baggage handling, customer care, and car parking.
At Frankfurt Airport, for instance, a self-driving robot named ‘YAPE’ will help you carry your baggage and navigate around the airport. During the first trials at the airport, passengers used a mobile app to communicate with the robot. YAPE helped passengers move luggage from the luggage compartment, guiding them through every terminal.
Another famous robot, AirStar, is currently in operation at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. AirStar helps passengers get useful information about Incheon airport and the relevant check-in terminals.
Social Robot Franny at Frankfurt Airport:
Airlines now embrace wearable technology as a way of improving their clients’ experience when flying. Commonly used devices include smart glasses, smartwatches, smartphones, and other electronic devices.
Through wearable technology, Sri Lanka Airlines in partnership with MAS holdings introduced the Spryng smart technology that enables business travelers on transit to wear a wireless wrap that mimics the natural contraction of muscles in the body. When you wear the wireless wrap, it stimulates blood circulation in your body and helps reduce muscle soreness when traveling.
Virtual Reality and Immersive Technology
Virtual reality technology enables passengers and airline workers to have a clear, defined view of their general environment. The technology uses a mobile app linked to a vision device such as goggles. For instance, when you wear virtual goggles, it takes you to a virtual world and integrates your movement into the virtual world.
Virtual reality technology is now available in major airport hubs like John F. Kennedy, where terminal 4 passengers enjoy a clear view of the city of New York. Through the VR experience, you’ll see New York’s destinations and landmarks at the comfort of your seat in the airport.
Trial of Video Glasses at Frankfurt Airport
Source: Lufthansa Airlines
A growing number of airlines seek to upgrade their in-flight entertainment experience using seamless internet connectivity. Thus, at 40,000 feet above the ground, you can enjoy super-fast, seamless internet. You can play video games, watch high-definition movies, and series. Besides, if you are traveling for official business, you’ll be sure to maintain your official office communication.
Many airlines have stepped up their seamless internet efforts to stay relevant with the technology. They include Qatar Airways, Air Asia, Norwegian Airlines, among others.
Navigation aids are a vital tool for any regular or first-time traveler. To avoid confusion, some airports are now using beaconing technology to help passengers navigate their way through the busy and large airports.
For example, Gatwick airport has more than 2,000 beacons in all of its terminals to direct travelers to critical points including departure gates and check-ins. Similarly, at Miami airport in Florida, beaconing technology gives critical information on the airport’s premises, gate numbers, and baggage collection points via a mobile app.
Beaconing Technology at Gatwick Airport:
Source: News Talk
In the past, airline companies have exploited the potential of AI tools for different functions and the trend will continue in the future. Most customers are now familiar with Chatbot engines installed by airlines for communication.
The Easy Jet in the UK launched its AI recognition tool that can read your passport, interpret all the figures, and fill in your information at the airport without you typing anything. Increased use of AI tools is also witnessed in Korean Air.
Technological advancement is changing the airline landscape and paving the way for more sophisticated discoveries. In the future, the travel experience will be personalized and so advanced as has never been witnessed before. Incredibly, it all happens for the benefit of the travelers.