Frequency of air travel has increased over the time. When we enter an airport, we step into a complex-structured environment. We witness people standing in long queues, running to board flights, invariably checking their watches repeatedly.
They say, the experience is as important as the destination. The goal for a traveler in an airport is to check-in, drop his/her baggage, go for security check and finally board the aircraft. This sums up a typical passenger journey. One of the pain points in this journey is the waiting time and crowd funneling prominently before the check-in/baggage drop. According to TripAdvisor’s annual air travel poll (March 2013), the biggest pet peeve among air travelers: Having to pay extra fees for checked baggage, carry-on bags and seat selection. Printed boarding passes and in-flight amenities were also identified among the top five most annoying airline fees.
Personalization and customization of services for passengers when they are inside the airport and easily approachable can be a good opportunity catch point. We can divide a passenger’s airport journey into four stages:
Facilitating the passenger (with less or without baggage) with easy and quick assistance during check-in can eventually reduce their waiting time and congestion.
With hyper connectivity on the rise, a majority people are seen occupied on their digital gadgets. Their attention span is distractive and selective. They demand easy accessibility, service quality and experiential value immersed with novelty. As a consequence of constant technological transformations, the consumer is subjected to adapt, update and accept the prevalent systems at a fast pace. Airlines and ground handling companies currently are trying to address opportunities that enable customer service with the use of mobile technology. Introduction of technologies like NFC, real time mobile updates, RFID, etc., have envisioned improvement in the whole experience – For instance, transformation from print-at-home boarding pass to mobile boarding pass and ancillary service offers to the subsequent NFC boarding swipe technology.
Complete self-check-in (mobile/kiosk) and automated bag drop or self-luggage tagging would ultimately result in absolute traveler empowerment and clearing out the airport floor space to a great extent. Making the user less dependent on the floor manual assistance unless it is necessary for undeniable reasons, can help in achieving fast track goal for the airline industry.
Hence, while designing an experiential service solution for such mobile passengers in a transiently used space like an airport, one has to remember some core factors: impact of time, expedite the non-stationary passengers and the retail value of the floor space for customer services (directly converts into a new revenue model). Currently, the above considerations are not effectively optimized to make the traveler experience seamless and less disruptive.
Do you have any thoughts where we can step in within the airport operations or a passenger’s journey experience for faster ground service? Please share your comments.