Airports, time to get your automation on

Airports are increasingly investing in Automation and self-serve Kiosks. This digital transformation we see is due to the rising number of passengers and the challenges of capacity constraints.

If you ever travelled in the last few years, you know that airports are always busy in the peak seasons, no one likes to wait in line before your vacation all you want is to relax, not to worry that you might be late for your flight. Hence, convenience and efficiency are of high priority to passengers. But if seamless travel is in high demand, why have some airports been slower than other industries, such as retail, to adopt automated solutions?

Unlike the retail industry, airports form part of critical national infrastructure. As such, they can be more conservative about deploying new digital technologies. There are other factors that might contribute to this attitude. Regulation differs between countries, security imperatives must be considered, and there is also the challenge of introducing new technology at scale.

Building more runways and terminals would be an idea, but regardless of restrictions on space, this isn’t a sustainable solution in the long term. Instead, airports are increasingly looking to automated technologies to help deal with these challenges and improve the passenger experience.

Lufthansa has been one of the industry’s pioneers when it comes to self-service processing, and now the carrier is exploring how it can leverage the latest digital developments to further simplify and personalize the passenger experience.

“Firstly, we are aiming to take away the hassle from passengers by automating processes wherever possible. Beneath removing the hassle from the passenger of having to check-in by introducing auto-check-in, we are also focusing on making the baggage drop off easier and more efficient.” said Dr. Björn Becker, Director Product Management, at Lufthansa. The airline’s launch last month of so-called “touchless bag drop” provides an example of Lufthansa’s ambition to create a more seamless experience.

Lufthansa will be the first European airline to include TSA Pre-check information on its boarding passes, enabling enrolled travellers to take advantage of faster and more convenient security checks in US airports.

The German company isn’t the only one to jump on this tech movement, Virgin Australia is also showing a lot of interest in Automation and recently implemented it in their airport. They are getting lots of attention with their new Elenium kiosks at Sydney International Airport. The agents and passengers are both pleased with this change, all are enjoying a smoother check-in process.

If Automation works so well for checking-in at the airport, then automated access gates at the entrance of VIP lounges would be a big step forward for many airlines. IEG’s client SWISS and Finnair already implemented this technology to break the queue and simplify the overall travel journey while improving the passenger experience.

The picture below was taken at the SWISS First-Class Lounge, it shows gates where the guests simply have to scan their boarding pass to be allowed access into the splendid lounge.

IEG plans to lead the industry using their expert knowledge in this field, integrating with their software and apps for aggregating data and insights whilst simplifying the process.

Stay Tuned for more innovations that can improve the passenger experience in the airport.

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