How smartphones are changing air travel

According to SITA/Air Transport World’s 2011 Passenger Self-Service Survey, airline passenger use of smartphones has doubled in the past year, making it now 54%. Not only that, but 74% of business and first class passengers had a smartphone on them at the time of data collection. The survey questioned 2,457 air passengers from 70 countries and 73 airlines.

In an article from The Press, they state that the CEO of SITA, Francesco Violante, is calling this type of smartphone enthusiastic traveler the “mobile-centric passenger”. These fliers expect “personal and timely communication from airlines, airports and other providers of travel-related services.”

The data collected by the survey shows that passengers aren’t just using their smartphone for work and personal reasons, but also for travel. For example, 31% of passengers have used a smartphone to check-in for their flight and 17% had used mobile boarding passes. While this percentage may not seem huge, it is most likely because not all airports and airlines are using technology to its fullest capability yet. In fact, 73% of survey respondents said they would like to use mobile boarding passes.

Airports aren’t ignoring this data, as plans for 2014 show, including 97% of airlines planning to offer web check-in, 89% planning to offer mobile check-in, 87% planning to offer bar-coded boarding passes for mobiles, and 63% planning to allow fliers to print luggage tags at kiosks.

While technology isn’t going to change air travel overnight, it is certainly on its way to altering the way people travel and fly. Only time will tell what else technology has in store for the future of travel.