Posted on: 30 September 2015 by Mark Howells
SITA OnAir is aiming to boost in-flight Wi-Fi usage with the launch of a new mobile app which exploits beacon technology in the airport and on-board the aircraft.
The company decided to optimise its new app for mobile devices based on the knowledge that over 80% of passengers carry a smartphone with them on-board. The app uses beacons at the gate to push messages through the airline’s app to passengers’ phones informing them there is Wi-Fi on the plane. After that, more beacons on the aircraft are used to remind passengers they can now start using the Wi-Fi.
Furthermore, passengers can access the app through their social media accounts, which enables contextualized passenger information and therefore e-commerce opportunities for both airlines and third-party advertisers.
“Wouldn’t it be easier if you could use your phone in the air just like you do on the ground? If you could swap messages, share pictures, listen to music and watch films of your choice, and keep tabs on emails as you cross continents? We are working hard to make sure every passenger can do that,” stated Francois Rodriguez, SITA OnAir’s chief strategy and marketing officer. “Two of the main friction points have been that the portals themselves have not been sufficiently user-friendly and that passengers simply haven’t realised in-flight Wi-Fi is available.
“When a passenger connects through the app, they arrive on a landing page with messages relevant to their journey, like flight and destination information. We help each airline tailor the right complimentary information to provide to suit their passengers’ requirements. The options for a pay-for or a complimentary Wi-Fi session are clearly laid out, so it is very easy to decide which level of service is appropriate and then access that service.
“Beacons are already beginning to be used by airports across the world, transforming the passenger experience by providing gate information, help with airport navigation and retail offers. We are now planning to use them to increase awareness of inflight Wi-Fi and, combined with our new portal, to make access even simpler to use,” Rodriguez concluded.
The new app can be fully customised for each airline and even integrated into the airline app.
Stephanie Taylor, editorial assistant, Inflight / Inflight-Online.com
APEX EXPO, Portland, Oregon