That passenger experience is key and that experience is extending beyond the airport to cover transportation and baggage logistics. Example regardless of your airline routing you want to drop your bags off locally, pick them up at your destination hotel and be kept informed on their progress(84% of travellers want to know where their bags are at all times – IATA survey).
We learned that digital transformation is a function of Technology, Economy and Psychology/Sociology and a passenger’s ‘digital experience’ is the most influential factor in recommending an airline/airport. Whether they like it or not, Simplicity, Speed, Availability and Transparency all wrapped in an individualised offering(Loyalty program, Custom App, or website) is critical. Consumer trust is established more from ‘Personal recommendations’ than any other source.
The battle ground is the sharing and ownership of secure data. Air transport is silo’d. Different airports, operating under different business models, wrapped in different local and national governance supporting different airlines. The same airline flying to multiple airport in the same country may need different software solutions depending on the airports operational environment. Yup, it’s time for our API restaurant approach.
Try as we might you cannot virtualise planes or airports. A baggage handling system might be considered a containerised micro service but it is still a large chunk of metal delivering a highly anticipated outcome. The key is seamless transit both of the bag and its passenger. Facial recognition technology like OneVisage https://www.onevisage.com crafts a unique QR code mapped to your face and your location. This can follow you through the airport and onto the plane, in effect an Access Passport for the terminal. Likewise, Alitheon http://alitheon.com produces a unique finger print of your bags, which follow it through the system. Craft both of these say into a single airport loyalty app, include transport, retail services and airport guidance and bingo a true digital experience for you passenger to marvel at.
In summary SITA’s approach to innovation is refreshing not just in the platform they expose to new technology companies but their willingness to engage and develop. The business of flight is, for obvious reasons, heavily regulated but opportunity beckons for those with a true digital experience vision