Posted on July 13, 2016 by staff

How technology will personalise the future of air travel


Airlines are looking to harness technology to personalise customers’ experience – including the booking of flights and the entertainment they are offered.

Colin Stewart, the UK director at Spanish airline Air Europa, said the benefits of the connected world will be felt by both airlines and passengers.

“Technology is enabling airlines to better know their passengers and to offer them a tailored service based on their individual history, preferences and attributes,” he told BusinessCloud.

“Imagine if your airline knows what type of movie you like, for example, and can offer you a personal choice of films to watch onboard.

“As cabins become more connected, this also opens up more opportunities for airlines to know and respond to their passengers’ individual circumstances.

“Traveller profiles can now be accessed by cabin crew via connected tablets on board a plane. If I’ve just boarded the return flight of my journey, having experienced a delay on my outbound flight, this incident would have been logged in the profile that I have with my airline, which the flight attendant can see via the tablet.

“He or she can now offer me a meal upgrade or a move into the next cabin class up, to make up for my inconvenience and improve my experience with the airline.”

Joakim Everstin, head of innovation at global airline solutions company Sabre, agrees.

“The world around us is full of IOT devices; many of these devices are feeding information from our home – for example, NEST records room temperature, Amazon Echo takes orders from you using your voice, intelligent fridges that will re-order milk and your favourite soft drinks when they run low,” he says.

“Imagine if we could capture some of this information about people on a regular basis and update it into their ‘traveller profiles’; when you visit a hotel, the room could automatically be set to the temperature you usually have in your home, and the in-room entertainment system could be pre-loaded with films and books suggestions based on your previous orders using Amazon Echo.

“And perhaps the minibar could be stocked with the beer you usually keep in your fridge at home.”

But perhaps the most useful innovation of all could soothe the frustration of missing a flight due to heavy traffic or other unforeseen circumstances.

“Technology can improve the experience for travellers by making travel more seamless, contextualised and personalised,” adds Everstin.

“Imagine, for example, your airline could tell whereabouts you were on your way to the airport.

“Knowing that you are more than an hour away and are not going to make it to check-in on time, it can automatically book you onto the next flight without you needing to do anything.”

And those ‘final call’ announcements at airports could even become a thing of the past.

“Airlines typically have quite high no-show rates, even after passengers have checked-in; if we can provide instant, real-time information to passengers based on their status and location – such as departure time, gate and check-in – we can help them to have an easier and more fluent experience on the day of travel,” adds Stewart.