Airports have changed in many ways over the last ten years. However, according to a report by Travel Tech and Amadeus, more changes are needed for greater customer satisfaction. Accordingly, the airport of tomorrow will be centred on passenger processing technologies, efficient services, and comfort.
Paperless tickets and self-check-in
With the advent of Smartphones, many airlines have switched to paperless tickets and online check-in. But if passengers forget to or can’t check in on-line, some airlines also have self-service check-in kiosks at the airport.
Wi-Fi and charge points for Smartphones
Airports are aware that busy business passengers need access to their phones and laptops to do business while they wait. As a result, passengers can now find free Wi-Fi, and charge points, including USB, scattered throughout most airports.
Delays down, cancelled flights up
Thanks to passengers being left stranded inside airplanes on runways, improvements have been forced on airlines to ensure passenger comfort. However, flight cancellations are more frequent as a consequence, as airlines do their best to avoid that scenario.
Airport security is so tight now that it has officially become the top reason people hate to fly. Unfortunately though, there is still a need for the tight restrictions, as dangerous products are still intercepted by security daily.
One of the major changes is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology in luggage. These are permanent baggage tags that recognise a passenger’s frequent flyer details. The main benefit here is the ability to track bags through the airport and airline baggage systems, in real time.
Near field communication (NFC) enabled smartphones and tablet computers could unlock the potential of one-touch check-in and mobile ticketing. This would maximise ease of check-in for passengers and has the potential for airlines to track passengers at the airport.
Biometrics—iris scan, fingerprint, facial recognition and so on—is poised to eliminate the largest air travel holdups, namely check-in, bag drop, and boarding. However, it will also support faster security checks.
Given the proliferation of tablet computers, roaming agents could soon be available within the airport. They’ll be able to provide information to passengers as necessary, and aid the desk check-in process at peak times.
Networking lounges will provide a space for business travellers to work. Making use of beacon technology, registered users will be able to connect with other registered users. The aim is to promote networking between business passengers and assist with efficient use of time during transit.
Sleeping pods will provide a dedicated space to relax or sleep while passengers wait for their connecting flight. The pods have already been implemented in a handful of airports and the number is expected to continue to rise.