I was impressed recently when a friend informed me via Facebook she was on her way back from Cuba and was posting from the air. Indeed internet accessibility up in the heavens far outweighed that back in Havana. Though admittedly that’s no startling revelation.
And yet no sooner did they introduce WiFi in-flight was it not good enough.
This week FlightView – an information solutions developer for the aviation and travel industries – revealed initial results of a survey suggesting that business travellers, themselves mostly au fait with the capabilities of modern technology, want much more of this sort of stuff. And faster.
In-flight and airport WiFi for a start is seen as unreliable, with less than a third of business travellers satisfied with either category.
Smartphone technology is not used to its fullest potential. Over 94 per cent of those surveyed wanted flight status information pushed to their phones, and 70 per cent wanted to receive a mobile boarding alert.
Meanwhile four out of five business travellers surveyed said they would use mobile electronic boarding passes, had the option been available. And just under two thirds wanted a mobile alert about the availability of a seat upgrade.
In a press statement Mike Benjamin, FlightView’s CEO, said: “Flight information is one thing that airlines and airports need to get right. Delays and cancellations are inevitable, but airports and airlines have a responsibility to provide customers with real-time, accurate updates.”
The survey revealed further suggestions such as pushing the status of a connecting flight to phones; the ability to re-book a flight in transit; or even a simple terminal map of how to get to your connecting plane.
The full survey of 2,600 travellers will be revealed next month.
But I wonder are such suggestions only important to the seasoned business traveller? The ‘I-need-everything-now’ type?
Sure the environmental factor of a fully paperless booking, check-in and boarding system, for example, will be important to many. The efficiency side of the coin to me seems questionable.
I must admit I’m the type that fails to trust an overuse of technology. In my experience, the more buttons you introduce into a process, the more stuff can go wrong. I adore gadgets, but I’m still the guy that would rather queue to check-in with a rosy-cheeked stewardess than use the automated system. I’m also the guy that fails to see the point of checking-in via computer, only to be put in the same damn queue to drop your bags off. I only feel incensed at having to attach my own flight tags. One – it just seems lazy. And two – again I don’t trust myself not to accidentally send my bags to Tazmania.
But that might just be me. So in light of the research we thought we’d pose the same conundrum to you, the holiday travellers.
– Are you satisfied with airport or in-flight WiFi?
– Would you like increased smartphone functionality?
– Do you think fast-track check-in systems are efficient?
– Would you trust an electronic boarding pass sent straight to your phone or would you rather have a paper copy?
– Would you trust, say, a travel mobile app that performs all of these functions?
– In what other ways would you like to see personal device technologies incorporated into your travel routine?
Post your comments below…