efficient airport travel passenger

How to ensure more efficient travel through airports

I was travelling out of Sofia International Airport Terminal 1 to London Gatwick Northern Terminal to attend the WLCAC AirXperience conference.

Terminal 1 is Sofia’s old terminal and is not very pretty. However, it’s small and functional. Or so I thought, until today. I was waiting at the security line, a bit nervous, as it was longer than usual and I didn’t plan any extra time. As it turns out, there was somebody with a bigger problem a few meters behind me – a lady in her fifties – she got in the security line without checking-in. At that she was carrying two big unchecked suitcases. I don’t think she made her flight.

It seems such stories are not unusual. Akhil Agarwal COO from InterGlobe Technologies also noticed them on his recent travel through airports. In his presentation today he shared his personal collection of bad UX examples. Most importantly he asked his team to crunch the numbers and presented those too. First-time travellers and seniors, both a growing group of passengers, are most impacted. Navigating through the airport seems is made for frequent flyers, but they too have demands for real-time information & response and better inflight entertainment.

interglobe technologies World Low Cost Airlines Congress

So how do we make passengers happy?

While demographics are changing, Akhil said, the technology and the data that we need to make customers happy is there. And happy customers mean more revenue. This is what Travel Buddy stands for. Travel Buddy integrates customer’s information from different databases into one single datahub. Commenting on the investment required, Akhil said “The cost is not high because the integration could be done in the airline’s own cloud. The cost of not doing it, though, could be very high.”

Travel Buddy is capable of doing sentiment analysis, geo-location based targeting and predictive analysis of what the customer will purchase. All very useful to airline’s RM.

My Travel Buddy, on the other hand, is the iPad app for consumers. The passenger can pre-download the media she wants to consume during the flight, as well as other useful stuff – like basic Chinese lessons, if she is travelling to Beijing for example. InterGlobe Technologies say this might increase revenue from a single passenger to as much as 30 USD dollars.

How are you making passenger happy? How is this impacting your revenues?

About the author: Elina Zheleva is an Independent Passenger Experience Expert and a vivid supporter of Human-Centered Design. She is the editor and curator of Airport Hub & Passenger eXperience. Her new initiative is Runway.vc – an event  for aviation experts and air travel startups. Previously she has worked in the European Aviation Safety Agency taking various roles in planning and controlling.

World Low Cost Airlines Congress 2015

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[Picture: Karl Baron on flickr]