With so many airlines in the playing field, it comes as no surprise that each are vying to gain passenger loyalty by providing travelers with unique offerings and innovations that help deliver a truly frictionless travel experience. At Corporate Traveler, we stay up to date on the latest trends in airline technology to give our clients the best intel on who they should be flying and why. Here are a few that have stood out to us recently.
RFID Technology Used in Baggage Tracking
In June 2018, IATA mandated that all airports adopt RFID technology for bag tracking, 2 years after Delta successfully rolled out the technology in 2016. While it’s expected that all airlines will adopt this technology in the next four years, British Airways is an earlier adopter of the initiative with their recent introduction of TAG.
A reusable digital luggage tag, TAG can be purchased via the company’s website and can be used on all British Airways flights.
Of the 4.3 billion bags that went through airports in 2018, 24 million of them went missing. While that may be a small percent, try telling that to the 24 million people who didn’t get their bag. Through the introduction of RFID, IATA is hoping to diminish this number even further because, let’s face it, missing bags equals stress.
Biometric Technology: Providing Passengers a Seamless Journey
Imagine uploading a selfie during a one-time registration and being able to travel without the need for a physical boarding pass. This is the experience Star Alliance is aiming to deliver across all of its 26 airlines using biometric technology.
The technology is already being used sporadically, however no airline has officially adopted the practice. Early players in the game include KLM, British Airways, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines, who have used the technology for some of their flights.
The launch of the Star Alliance program is set for March 2020 at one of its airline hubs, which has yet to be announced, with the hopes of quickly expanding thereafter. This is just the beginning, as the alliance hopes to roll out biometric technology across non-airline partners including hotels, rental cars, duty-free shops and more. It’s not inconceivable that your face will check you in wherever you go in a few short years.
United Wants You to Make Your Connections
Some of the greatest innovations come in small packages, which rings true for ConnectionSaver—a tool created by United to help you make your connection. The tool recognizes flights that can be held for connecting passengers and then, for those who have opted-in, it sends them a unique text message with directions and timing to the gate. The intuitive tool calculates various scenarios, for example, if the plane leaves late because it’s waiting for a connecting traveler, could it still arrive on time? This benefits the travelers on board as well as those who may not have made the flight had it left three minutes earlier as scheduled.
The tool is currently only being used at seven airports and solely used for United Airlines, however, since launching in February 2019, it’s saved 50,000+ missed flight!
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Ventures into Automation
“Self-driving car” is a term that is becoming more and more familiar in our day to day vocabulary. Now, ANA has decided to use the technology in a different way: to help its passengers get around the airport through self-driving electric wheelchairs. The wheelchairs, developed by Panasonic and Whill, are currently being tested in the Tokyo-Narita International airport until November 28th, with passengers riding in the chairs accompanied by a guide. The aim is to make navigating the airport easier and help passengers who need assistance to reach their gates quickly and conveniently.
Just as airlines are using technology to improve passengers' journeys, we at Corporate Traveler are too. Our clients have access to a range of exclusive tools that help make each journey a smooth one. Contact us today to learn more about how we make business travel a breeze.