The Three Major Changes Will Reshape Our Aviation Experience

- May 16, 2018-

When self-service became the norm and foundation of air travel, some new changes emerged.

So, what are the key areas for these upcoming changes?

SITA (International Aeronautics and Telecommunications Group) recently issued a new forecast report, saying that baggage reform, biometrics, and in-flight network connectivity will be the key areas for reshaping the travel experience in the next era.

Baggage reform

As self-service is increasingly becoming the mainstream of applications, the future of baggage handling will take a leap forward, and technology will play a crucial role in it.

According to SITA's survey of passengers, in 2017, nearly half (47%) of travelers chose to use self-service baggage tags, far exceeding the 31% in 2016. In certain areas, passengers can even download and print their luggage tags when they check in online. At the same time, many airports have also launched self-service stations in time for passengers to use.

Self-service baggage is also increasingly known to the general public. At present, 59% of airports have launched semi-self check baggage, and by 2020, airports using this service are expected to reach 90% of the total. In addition, full self-service baggage is currently being rolled out in 28% of airports, and this figure is expected to double again by 2020. In SITA's vision, the next phase of digital baggage management will be automated check-in of baggage through a mobile phone check-in. Passengers only need to put baggage in the robot storage.

Undoubtedly, after the introduction of Resolution 753 of the International Air Transport Association, providing real-time information to passengers will become an imminent requirement for airlines and airports. From June 2018, the International Air Transport Association will require its member airlines (83% of the total number of flights) to track each piece of baggage and share information with relevant parties. According to the data from the SITA Technology Trend Survey, although only 22% of travelers are able to receive baggage information through their smartphones, there has been a 10% jump in passenger satisfaction.

In addition, according to APEX CEO Joe Leader, radio frequency identification (RFID) will be an important development point. An RFID chip is only a penny size and can easily be embedded in luggage tags, enabling real-time, accurate tracking of baggage throughout the entire process. Looking into the future, RFID tracking will provide a huge space for passengers to travel and airport activities. After a passenger lands, he or she does not even need to collect the luggage in person, but can arrange for someone to send it to a designated place.


According to SITA's Traveler IT Technology Development Survey, 37% of travelers are more likely to choose self-service solutions when they travel, that is, through biometrics technology to complete X-ray inspections, boarding gate inspections, and international immigration inspections. Long lines of trouble.

With the increasing acceptance of passengers, airports have begun to apply biometric technologies to make identification checks and other phases easier and faster. At check-in, using a fingerprint scanner can significantly increase the convenience of the process while ensuring the accuracy of the inspection. After boarding, visitors can also be visually identified and personalized to their preferences. In addition, this technology has also begun to fully expand in all aspects such as aviation clubs and baggage consignments.

At present, all airlines and governments in the world have invested heavily in biometrics technology. For example, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has developed a plan worth up to 1 billion U.S. dollars to develop facial recognition technology over the next decade. APEX's leadership predicts that biometrics will increase passenger processing speed by 50%, while the airline’s demand for human resources will also drop year-on-year, which will allow airlines to obtain higher profit returns.

The single biometric identification technology is currently one of the fastest growing areas. At present, this technology is gradually moving from the laboratory to the practical application. Fifty-seven percent of travelers said they would use biometrics instead of traditional boarding passes, and a quarter of airlines plan to implement the technology by 2020.

Aerial Digital Experience

The third big prediction for the future is to achieve network connectivity in the cabin. By 2025, it is expected that the aircraft will be able to maintain an Internet connection at all altitudes. When passengers are on board, their low-bandwidth connection equipment will be automatically connected to the network.

This initiative has provided unprecedented possibilities for the realization of passengers' personalized experience. Passengers can control the individual's environment and comfort through smart phones, such as lighting, temperature, and seat position. At that time, the entertainment needs in the flight will be increasingly realized through the voice interaction between the passengers and the equipment. Passengers can also use artificial intelligence robots to obtain all kinds of information and notifications related to travel.

For passengers, free over-the-air Wi-Fi will be a key factor influencing their spending options. It is crucial to improve passenger satisfaction and airline brand loyalty, and airlines are also positive about this. And respond quickly. According to Route Happy's survey data, around 39% of passengers in 2017 worldwide have the opportunity to use Wi-Fi-equipped flights, an increase of 8% over 2016. However, if possible, 85% of travelers prefer to use free Wi-Fi.

At the same time, the phenomenon of "using own equipment" also led to important changes in the rules of the game. According to statistics, 69% of passengers will choose to use their own equipment; when using in-flight digital services, 29% of passengers will choose to use the app installed on their own devices instead of the seat back screen.

How to realize the network connection inside the cabin and enable the passengers to use the network service as normal as the ground during the flight has become the focus of many airlines. This also poses new challenges for the further development of data and improvement of aircraft operation modes.

Currently, Singapore Airlines has signed a broadband flight agreement, and Philippine Airlines is proceeding to upgrade the entire fleet to achieve "the next generation of high-speed connected passenger experiences", while Saudi Airlines is already flying to 34 destinations worldwide. 76 An open service is provided on the plane.