Time is the most precious commodity in today's hyper connected world, work merges into play as we live a 24hour always on lifestyle. The modern business traveller desires efficiency, productivity support, and a relaxing quiet environment. Design and service needs to be around their business needs. One of the most problematic and time-consuming elements of flying is the check-in and arrival process. Frequent flyers are aware that there is no need to arrive at the airport 4 hours before take off. So why is it that so many of us get swept up in the pre-departure panic?
While the check-in process was much faster and straightforward, this is easily justified by the heightened alertness surrounding security and safety. Security is now one of the most extensive elements a passenger flows through, usually featuring long queues, frustrating random checks, and many dirty conveyor belts.
Emerging tech is helping to ease this pain point. More efficient tech prevents unnecessary checks, speeding up delays at queue points. For example, by providing real time data of how long baggage queues are, or how long security will take can help passengers pre-judge their check in times.
An excellent example of this is Thales smart security technology; their security technology provides advanced modular solutions such as abnormal behavior or conditions detection, video analytics, intelligent incident management, and resource management tools. All of these help to improve passenger wait time, and subsequently, the overall flow.
Gatwick airport is also working to improve experience and security. Their new 36 million pound investment in a security area in their North Terminal is part of their new strategy to enhance safety while reducing passenger wait time. Featuring ten new security check-in lanes and increased screening technology quality, moving customers swiftly through the airport.
Whilst flying is cleaner, cheaper, and safer the real progress and innovation is difficult to spot from a passenger perspective. Due to the stress of the check-in process, you'd expect that the journey's actual traveling aspect could be a time to relax and enjoy post-check-in stress. However, with the population increasing, personal space on flights seems to be decreasing. Of course, the option exists for an upgrade to increase legroom, but this comes at a price. And a high one. How can we enhance the space that passengers have onboard without having to up costs?
We are now witnessing airlines' desperation to reduce costs on every customer journey element, sacrificing passenger pleasure. It has even been reported that certain airlines are considering introducing standing seats to utilize the available space to its full capacity.
An in-flight element that has improved is the utilization of hardware, with the majority of long-haul flights offering an unlimited supply of movies and entertainment. So while the inflight experience's physical environment may be jeopardized, at least there is a virtual reality where the passenger can escape.
Attentive staff and cabin crew can make the difference for nervous flyers. Singapore Airlines have introduced a new 'chatbot.' Onboard, passengers can contact and alert cabin crew via their smartphone. The easy accessibility of this can help to reduce passenger stress and retain clarity throughout the whole flight.
There is still a long way to go to strike the right balance between cost efficiency and delivering a high quality, enjoyable onboard experience. Airlines need to take a step back and consider the person/individual. How do airlines stop prices being the key choice for a passenger and start adding real value.
With the pandemic confusing continents, communication is critical. Clarity surrounding signage and wayfinding is fundamental. Signage around the airport should be clear, consistent, and, most importantly, up to date.
For most passengers, even pre-pandemic navigating around airports is confusing. For large families or anxious travelers, this can be an overwhelming process. With ever-changing regulations and additional safety measures, the process of passing through an airport has been further complicated. To maintain a sense of clarity and ease passengers, airports and airlines must implement clear communication throughout every passenger journey touchpoint.
While flying moves away from exclusivity, the luxury factor and charm of the experience have also been lost. With disruption comes the opportunity to change.
How can we help you improve your passengers' experience? How can you position your airport as an efficient, effective, and enjoyable experience?
Do you need advice on how to implement any of the above? Contact Jonne, and let's discuss your airport needs today.