Airports, Experience is everything: Pre-Travel

At Pointr we have been working closely with a number of Airports and Airlines in Europe and Asia. We are also an active World Business Partner of Airports Council International (ACI) and would like to share with you some of what we’ve learned about what makes a good passenger experience.

In this article, we will discuss how to improve the Pre-Travel experience at airports. 

Pre-travel

The experience starts as soon as a passenger decides that they want to book a flight to a destination (even potentially on flight comparison sites). Putting the obvious experience milestones aside (accessibility and UX of airport/airline website etc…) there are a number of pre-travel activities that caught our attention.

Good travel experience is all about simplicity. That is why a number of airlines are investing time and money to accommodate a traveller’s preference of mobile devices and the latest payment technologies, to make the searching and booking process as convenient as possible.

LOT Polish Airlines have started to accept BitCoin payments for passengers when paying for their tickets. Although this type of digital currency is *still* in its early days and has not reached mass market yet, it outlines a crucial fact, which is that Airlines and Airports should keep their ears to the ground and embrace new technologies which enhance customer experience. Even if they are not pioneers in the area, there is still value in keep up with technical innovations to keep a foothold in the fast-paced aviation industry, which is increasingly being filled with new and innovative low-cost airlines.

Likewise, with the global release of Apple Pay, airlines such as JetBlue are quickly adopting this new technology as they foresee the convenience it might bring to potential passengers, allowing them to view, book, and pay for flights from their smart devices with a single touch.

Another example of simplifying the pre-travel experience would be what Google did with Google Flights. It’s able to prepare the customer for what to expect on the flight by displaying in-flight amenities alongside the flight time, aircraft, and flight price on google search.

Moreover, VIP pre-travel experiences are also on the agendas of airlines. Last year we saw how Fraport launched a premium ‘Home to Gate’ service for travellers flying from Frankfurt Airport. This personal concierge service ensures a limo picks up passengers and their baggage from their location, takes them to the airport and fast tracks them through the security checkpoints.

In a world where luggage allowances on flights are decreasing, and charges for excess baggage are steadily increasing, airline customers are often disappointed with the minimal baggage they can take with them on their trips. This is where service providers such as SendMyBag will become more and more popular. They allow you to select a convenient time to get your luggage collected from your home and delivered to your final destination at a lower price than some airlines will allow. The process of physically carrying heavy luggage all the way to the Airport will potentially be something of the past, in the not-so-distant future.

Similarly UK startup Airportr provides a service by collecting your bags from an online booked location (an office, hotel or home) and drops it at the airport. You can then just pick it up and check it in at the airport. The service also works the other way around as your baggage can be collected at the airport and dropped off at a place of your choice. This is especially useful for business people having to go to meetings straight after a flight but are annoyed by having to wait and carry their luggage.

At the start of this article we mentioned the value of keeping up with innovation, though clearly keeping up with everything can become an unbearable cost. Staying abreast of what is happening in the technology world is a good step, but sometimes partnerships and finding knowledgeable technology advisers are a powerful way to make the most of the cash available.

In our next series of “Aviation, Experience is everything” we will be continuing the user journey from check-in. Stay tuned for more!