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28 May 2020 | Blog

An affordable alternative to touchless technology: Help prepare your passengers at home

There’s no doubt about it – travel is going to be stressful again for a while. But it’s not something we have to accept and move on. There are things we can do to make travel the fun, simple, and exciting experience that it should be to get people flying again.

The concept of touchless technology provides a lot of hope for our industry. A recent video from Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru showed a passenger enjoying an entirely touchless journey all the way from his taxi to the aircraft. And it was fantastic. But what about the airlines and airports that have racked up significant debts through the COVID-19 crisis and can’t afford the all-singing-all-dancing approach? Thankfully, the answer for companies in this situation is very simple. It is empowering your passengers to do as much as they can for themselves before they get to the airport.

We started to work with SWISS International Air Lines – part of the Lufthansa Group – in 2015 and it has consistently been one of the most innovative and forward-thinking airlines that we have worked with. In 2018 we ran a project that involved auto-check in and home-printed bag tags. At the time, these processes were built to surprise and delight its passengers. Just a little something extra to help them stand out from the crowd and say, “we know check-in is unnecessarily complicated – we’ve got it covered.”

But all of a sudden – since airlines have had to work harder than we ever imagined to get passengers flying again – these kinds of processes are no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. They suddenly have the potential to be a key driver in how quickly we can build passenger confidence and bring people back to travel. 

In the old world, we accepted that some people preferred to do things with support from a human at the check-in desk. In the new world, while the number of these people is likely to plummet, it’s also in the best interests of other passengers and your staff to enable passengers to self-serve wherever possible.

Ways to prepare a passenger before they get to the airport

These are some simple ways in which you can empower your passengers to prepare for their journey in the comfort of their own home, rather than allowing them to deal with potential issues at the airport where it may be too late:

  • Send documents such as the Public Health Passenger Locator Form our customer WIZZ has automatically attached to all emails to complete prior to travel.
  • Make sure passengers are aware of any health declarations or visas that they will need for the country they’re travelling to.
  • Warn of new regulations, such as quarantine rules or track and trace protocols that must be adhered to. 
  • Encourage passengers to check the validity of their passport.

It’s not technologically advanced, but it works. 

The airlines in our customer community use our pre-departure communications solution to pinpoint passengers based on a range of advanced filters, then deliver them the relevant information based on information in the PNR. There is no manual work involved whatsoever, meaning the right people get the right message at exactly the right time. 

Passengers will not thank you for allowing them to get to the airport without everything they need. Apart from anything, it’s in the best interests of your passenger, other passengers in the airport, and your staff to make sure they’re prepared for travel before they leave home. 

It may not be your responsibility to make sure passengers are ready to fly, but they will hold you accountable – and won’t be shy to share their experience with their social networks.

Passenger communications have changed dramatically. Read more here, or get in touch today to get a head start.