It appears the airline industry is gradually awakening to the impact of smartphones on its business.
Three quarters (76%) of airlines plan major program to deliver passenger services through smartphones in the next three years, based on an industry study.
During that time, more than five times as many airlines (67%) will offer a highly personalized smartphone booking experience compared to today, according to the 2015 Airline IT Trends Survey by SITA, the airline industry organization.
The annual study is based on a survey of senior IT executives at 100 of the top passenger carriers worldwide.
Some good news for travelers is that information updates relating to baggage and customer services apps to resolve travel issues will become more common.
The bad news is that the timeframe is by 2018. That’s also when 22% of airlines expect to offer flyers the ability to download content like books and movies for their flights from a kiosk, thanks to beacons.
The study found that 9% of passengers now use mobile check-in, double from the previous year. By 2018, SITA sees 24% of passengers using a mobile device to check in.
The change is being driven by the low-cost carriers, with 23% of their passengers already checking in by mobile device. Hence, the low cost.
By the end of 2018, the majority (66%) of airlines will offer wireless internet and multi-media on passenger devices. That’s also when in-flight duty-free apps will rise to 47% from only 11% of airlines today.
Lost luggage? You soon will at least know where it’s lost.
Only 10% of airlines now keep passengers up to date with the location of their baggage, but by 2018, that number will rise to 70%, based on the survey.
Of course, luggage tracking will provide you with the knowledge of where the baggage is, not necessarily get it matched with where you are.
On the beaconing front, 9% of airlines have experimented with beacons, mostly in the check-in area with the primary uses being the delivery of flight and gate information. Over the next three years, 44% of airlines expect to start beacon projects.
So it looks like 2018 could be a big year for mobile innovation and delivery in the airline industry.
But 2015, 2016, 2017? Maybe not so much.