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Four major trends set to shape the future of air travel

Posted on 14 Feb 2013 at 15:50 pm

Innovation in information technology (IT) used by airlines, airports and passengers will significantly change the way we travel by 2015, reveals SITA in its report “Flying into the Future”. (See full report in slides below)

According to the report, the industry will see a major transformation in the way passengers buy travel services and use self-service along their journey over the next three years.

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, SITA's director market Insight, said iT has had a major influence on air travel, and with the number of global travellers expected to double by 2030 it would 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."

The four trends, which will shape the future of global air travel.

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 personalised buying experience, and the industry is responding. For example, Alaska Airlines is one of several airlines with a travel app, which alerts fliers to airfare deals from their hometowns and to cities where their friends live.

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 and fast-track security zones, and to access premium passenger lounges. Japan Airline's 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.

Customer services will become more mobile and social: By 2015 nine out of 10 airlines and airports will provide flight updates using smartphone apps. The industry is also exploring apps to improve the customer experience. At Japan's Narita Airport roaming service employees personalise 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.

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 personalised 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 programmess to improve loyalty.

Pickford added, "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."

* Below: “Flying into the Future” report and infographic


                               Flying into the Future with SITA - Infographic


                                        Flying into the Future with SITA

Tags: SITA , air travel , flying , future , trends , 2015 , IT , BI , NFC , airlines , airports , mobile and social , check-ins , smartphone apps , loyalty