The future of air travel

HONG KONG —

According to new report by SITA— the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, by 2015, the way we travel will change significantly fueled by innovation in IT - used by airlines, airports and passengers.

Over the next three years, the industry will see a major transformation in the way passengers buy travel services and use self-service along their journey. In addition, these journeys will take place in a fully mobile and social environment with airlines and airports intelligently using vast quantities of data to deliver real service and operational improvements.

Nigel Pickford, Director Market Insight, SITA, said, “Information technology has already had a major influence on air travel. And with the number of global travelers expected to double by 2030, it will continue to lead the way for the industry. Our survey analysis shows four major IT trends which will shape the entire travel experience, from how we book flights to how we interact with airlines and airports during the journey, to the kinds of services we expect.”

Based on SITA’s most recent surveys of airlines, airports and passengers worldwide, the four major trends which will shape the future of global air travel are:

1. The way passengers buy travel will change. By 2015, both airlines and airports expect the web and the mobile phone to be the top two sales channels. Passengers are asking for a more personalized buying experience, and the industry is responding. For example, Alaska Airlines is one of several airlines with a travel app that alerts fliers to airfare deals from their hometowns and to cities where their friends live.

2. Passengers will take more control. By 2015, 90% of airlines will offer mobile check-in - up from 50% today. Passengers will use 2D boarding passes or contactless technology such as Near Field Communications (NFC) on their phones, at different stages of their journey, such as at boarding gates, fast-track security zones and to access premium passenger lounges. Japan Airlines’ Touch & Go Android is one example of an app, which will allow passengers to pass through boarding gates using their NFC-enabled phones. France’s Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is piloting a similar service.

3. Customer services will become more mobile and social. By 2015, nine out of ten airlines and airports will provide flight updates using smart phone apps. The industry is also exploring apps to improve the customer experience. At Japan’s Narita Airport, roaming service employees personalize the customer experience by using iPads to provide airport, flight and hotel information to passengers. In addition, Edinburgh Airport is one of several airports with apps that help passengers plan their journeys to and from the airport, track their flights, access terminal maps and reserve parking spots before they arrive.

4. The passenger experience will improve thanks to better business intelligence. By 2015, more than 80% of airports and airlines will invest in business intelligence (BI) solutions. Most will focus on improving customer service and satisfaction, often through personalized services. For example, one European airline, Vueling, researches customers via social media in an effort to understand them better. It then integrates this information into their BI programs to improve loyalty.

“Passenger needs and preferences are changing. Today’s passengers want more control throughout their journey. They expect transformation in both the kinds of services airlines and airports offer, and the way they communicate with them. At the same time, the industry is investing in business intelligence solutions and collaborating more to increase operational efficiency and improve customer service and loyalty,” Pickford added.

Asia Travel Tips

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    That's nice.

    But before doing these, please do something to improve dirty, filthy, rude international airports, aircrafts and travelers. We are not catching up with these technology changes. Many are really in bad shape like pit holes including LAX, Seattle airports.

  • 0

    No Miso

    At some point everyone will most likely use something similar to the Ryanair model whereby the ticket price is reduced to an absolute minimum, then you add all the things you need until you actually have a ticket that is same price as main line carrier anyway. Technology allows such deception, and service quite frankly takes a backseat to profit. Everyone gets angry with everyone else and what was once a pleasure to do (fly) becomes a nightmare experience. But hey, it's a "personal" experience!

  • 1

    lostrune2

    I'd rather an airline charge a higher fare (not necessarily first- or business-class level) for better experience than the barest minimum price for the barest acceptable experience. Like Apple does for their products.

  • 0

    Serrano

    I hope the future of air travel will include enough legroom and elbow room for adults in economy class.

  • -1

    theResident

    @Serrano: Its likely to become less and less unfortunately - more so for long haul travel. The main line airlines will have to concentrate on premium paying passengers as the LLC's make bigger inroads to short haul travel. It's all much easier now anyway, all of the major airlines offer flight alerts/online check in. Much improved, its up to us (the consumer) to embrace it. Ryanair is however a very poor example, and I don't think (and hope) that all other airlines will follow their model. I think we will much more likely experience a very two-tier experience with the main airlines starting to introduce more transparent pricing, with everything included and then as 'No Miso' says above, a very structured ticket from the LLC's. @globalwatcher: LAX is a very poor example of airports today, in my 25 years of extensive travelling many of the major airports have improved beyond recgonition. Narita bring a prime example. Undortunately, none of them have been made any bigger, therefore making the passenger more stressed in the crowds that have ensued.

  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    Looks like the future of air travel is looking up if you are a First of Business class passenger, those of us who fly Economy will have to put up with less and less. Just recently KLM have announced that all of their flights in Europe will charge for check-in luggage for Economy class passengers. I'm Flying Blue so that won't affect me, but for those not in the scheme it means extra expense. So it looks like the Ryanair model is being picked up by some of the bigger carriers.

    I don't care about smartphone apps, and the like - I just want to book a ticket, get on a plane and fly.

  • 0

    JeffLee

    Air Canada has the highly convenient online and electronic check-in. After you go through the rigormorale at a high-tech booth near the desks, the screen then tells you to stand in line... where 200-300 people are waiting. The wait took me 45 minutes when I went last year.

  • -3

    theResident

    As I said Jeff, the emphasis is on Buisness Class travel now. Most airports have a premium line for security now - although bar from just having a dig at my comments for the sake of it - Security lanes in North America (and yes, I am inclusing Canada) are dreadfully slow. Life for the economy class passenger is only going to get worse.

  • -2

    JeffLee

    just having a dig at my comments for the sake of it

    Wrong. I was having a dig at Air Canada.

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