Emerging mobile technologies continue to expand the efficiencies and possibilities for airlines looking for new ways to streamline check-in processes and improve customer service. As the industry enters the mobile era, today’s traveler can begin the journey by checking in over coffee in the hotel room, monitoring flight status on the ride to the airport, using curbside luggage drop and walking straight to the gate without stopping to print out a boarding pass.
In June, Delta Air Lines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) partnered to launch a pilot program of NCR Corporation’s mobile check-in solution at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA). The service is available for any domestic flight from LGA, and Delta is currently working with NCR to expand the program to other airports within the year.
The concept is simple but the benefits are clear. Using any web-enabled mobile device, passengers can check-in to flights within 24 hours of departure and receive a 2D bar code. Once at the airport, the passenger proceeds to the security checkpoint where the bar code on his or her mobile device is quickly scanned by the TSA and again upon boarding the flight.
Providing added convenience is critical in an environment where rising costs associated with modern air travel are forcing carriers to find new tools to save time and money. By adding mobility to their self-service offerings, carriers are tempering the difficulties of higher prices and longer security lines by giving their customers the ability to check-in from anywhere they choose.
These new mobile check-in capabilities are sure to spread rapidly beyond the gates at LaGuardia and soon won’t be limited to mere airline check-in. The pilot program can be seen as a bellwether for the future of mobile data services as the very same technology used with the mobile airline check-in can also be leveraged to check in to a hotel, arrange a rental car from the airport or rent movies from an airport terminal kiosk. And the possibilities don’t end there.
The paperless initiative and move to 2D bar codes follows the ‘Simplify the Business’ plan set forth by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a plan that is sure to benefit carriers, airports and travelers by minimizing costs and improving the traveler experience. With a goal of reducing the hurdles, constraints and long lines associated with modern travel, enhanced mobile functionality offers multiple benefits which will only help aid bottom line returns for all industry participants.