While senior IT executives at the top 200 airlines worldwide were “cautiously optimistic” about IT investment in a 2012 SITA survey, this much is clear: economic uncertainty and unpredictable jet fuel prices aren’t dampening enthusiasm for upgrading passenger mobile services. In fact, it tops the lists of investments for the second consecutive year, with 60% of airlines planning major investments in mobile passenger services over the next three years. Here’s a look at where those IT dollars will go.
According to SITA’s 2012 Passenger Self-Service survey, 74% of travelers interviewed booked their travel online, but only 3% purchased tickets via mobile devices or social media. Airlines are looking to change that – 70% said that after 2015, mobile will be the second most important sales channel behind the Web. 90% of airlines plan to sell tickets via mobile and 83% will sell ancillary services via mobile. Passengers should be able to purchase ticket modifications and upgrades, preferred boarding access, choice seating, airline lounge access, in-flight amenities and pay baggage fees all via a mobile device by 2015.
Today’s tech-savvy travelers are not only comfortable performing tasks once delegated to airline personnel, they prefer it at every stage of the travel process. 40% more travelers are using mobile boarding today than in 2010. Only 50% of airlines surveyed by SITA offer mobile check-in currently. The airlines are getting the message: 90% are pledging to offer that service by 2015. Soon passengers won’t have to have a barcode scanned from their mobile devices, NFC technology (Near Field Communication) will allow passengers to simply tap their devices to check-in or board. About 90% of passengers surveyed want flight status information and notifications on their mobile devices, just 43% of airlines offered that at the time of the survey, but 90% plan to in the next 3 years. Along with flight tracking, airlines will begin to offer baggage tracking and lost baggage processing via mobile so passengers don’t need to wait around for hours at the airport.
What passengers want from the airlines is simple – easy ways to complete financial transactions, proactive communication and timely day-of-travel information, and the speed and efficiency of self-service whenever possible. To see more specifics on where passengers want airlines to improve current technology and where we think mobile travel technology should be headed, see FlightView’s 2012 Flyer Survey.