Air travel is coming back.
In what form no one knows, but it doesn’t hurt to get App ready, because with security and hygiene the focus, other services tend to fall by the wayside.
With COVID-19 security top of mind for airlines and passengers alike, many more irregularities might occur during a trip from A to B, including additional flight delays, cancellations, lost baggage or forced quarantines.
Having a comprehensive mobile app would help. But according to Travel and Mobility Tech, around 40% of travellers only use one transportation app at all.
What does this mean? Hiccups during travels.
Choosing a viable app during your future journeys could avoid them.
Upping the game with travel apps
Airline apps from 2020 to 2030 will become far more sophisticated, according to a CNN report.
Passenger airport apps will update weather, air traffic, gate information, parking and even current wait times.
GIS will locate the nearest airport coffee shop and apps will allow food delivery to your departure gate.
US airline Delta wants to make its app a digital concierge.
“Our goal it to have the app manage all aspects of your journey,” says spokeswoman Kate Modolo. “We want you to be able to use it to order a Lyft (Delta has a partnership with the ride-share service), use miles to pay for your ride, check into your hotel room and have your key waiting for you when you arrive,” she says.
American Airlines, too, wants customers using the AA app to inform customers if their flight is oversold and give them the option to volunteer to change their flight in exchange for a travel voucher, for example.
According to the Conversation, over the past decade almost $200 billion has been invested globally in mobility technology that promises to improve our ability to get around. More than $33 billion was invested last year alone.
The top investment categories in the mobility area are: ride hailing, autonomous vehicles, and micromobility, but also hotels, and bookings.
Today’s apps need to quickly find the best deals and nearby locations for scooters or hail a cab. Autonomous vehicles attract those with safety in mind and those wary of navigating through heavy or no traffic.
Mobility as a service (MAAS) combines many app services into 1.
MAAS begins with a journey planner that is linked to one-stop payment for a range of mobility services – ride-hailing, e-scooters, e-bikes, taxis, public transport, and so on.
MAAS has attracted over $7 billion to date, but is expected to grow to over $100 billion by 2030, according to Markets&Markets.
Airports’ own apps
According to the New York Times airlines and airports are relying more heavily on artificial intelligence to speed their trips.
The airports in Osaka, Japan, and Abu Dhabi have tested autonomous check-in kiosks that move themselves to help manage peaks of passenger flow. This is helpful in the Post Corona era.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Miami International Airport are among those using visual sensors to monitor passenger line lengths and how quickly people are moving through security checkpoints. Managers can use the information to adjust where they need more workers and to send passengers to shorter lines.
Passengers can see how long their wait will be on signs or on a phone app.
For international flights, more airlines are installing facial recognition technology, replacing agents who check boarding passes and identification cards.
CNN says that hundreds of airports all over the world are testing out biometric identification, a technology that verifies a flier’s identity through fingerprints or facial features and speeds them through an aspect of their journey such as security or boarding, something that will grow exponentially.
Around 7% of airlines have installed some self-boarding gates, and about a third of all airlines plan to use some type of this gate by the end of 2022, according to SITA.
Some of the new technology is aimed at easing language difficulties. Kennedy International Airport in New York recently installed three A.I.-based real-time translation devices from Google at information stations around the airport.
Artificial intelligence is also being used behind the scenes to reduce the time airplanes spend at the gate between flights, where around 30 airports around the world testing or installing a visual A.I. system made by the Swiss company Assaia. The system uses cameras pointed at a plane parked at the gate to track everything that happens after the aircraft lands: how long it takes for fuel and catering trucks to arrive, whether the cargo door is open, and even if employees on the ground are wearing their safety vests.
Artificial intelligence software can also make a difference with rebooking algorithms especially when weather or mechanical issues disrupt travel, where AI is speedy in recomputing, rerouting and rescheduling matters.
British Airways is using AI in a trial of autonomous robots that’s beginning this year at Heathrow Terminal 5. These robots, from technology company BotsAndUs, can interact with passengers in multiple languages and have the ability to answer thousands of questions including those related to real-time flight information.