Increases in thunderstorms, travelers and ticket prices mark the beginning of the summer travel season, which is only a few weeks away. Airlines for America is predicting packed flights for the July to August stretch due to a record number of people traveling internationally and a brighter economic outlook. Add in unpredictable and sometimes dangerous summer storms, and you’ve got a recipe for stressful travel. While there’s not much we can do about the ticket prices, we have a few tips to help you have a better travel experience this summer.
Summer Travel Tip #1
Flying to Atlanta last week, it struck me that a familiar part of the airport experience was missing – the staff. There was a noticeable reduction in the number of agents on duty at ticket and gate counters, but their absence wasn’t causing chaos the way it would have in the past. The reason? Self-service is becoming status quo as travelers are increasingly comfortable using technology to navigate the airport. A passenger can use a kiosk to self check-in, then FIDS (flight information display systems), websites or mobile apps to check flight status which means fewer questions for gate agents to answer.
As it turns out, passengers aren’t only comfortable with self-service, they prefer it. A recent survey from SITA found that the most stressful part of a trip is fear of missing a flight, which is exactly what can happen when travelers have to wait in long lines at bottlenecks like check-in, bag drop and ID-check before going through security. Convenience and speed through processing checkpoints definitely help get passengers to the gate, but self-service options are valued at every point in the trip. The most welcome features among survey participants were flight status updates via mobile phone, self-boarding gates and kiosks for flight transfers.
Google recently started a contest awarding the winner with a pair of their Google Glasses. In order to win, contestants submit 50 words to explain how they would use the glasses. With these revolutionary glasses, you can access everything from the type of plant you’re staring at to the menus and Yelp reviews of every restaurant in site as you walk down the street. With an imagination, the possibilities seem to be endless with the Google Glasses, and this creativity is exactly Google was trying to tap into with their recent contest.
But how could these glasses revolutionize the stress-filled traveling experience? JetBlue entered the contest and took a stab addressing this age-old question of how the airport experience can be improved. JetBlue surmised that these glasses will allow the traveler to be better-informed by having access to all sorts of travel-related information right in front of their face, literally.