woman-travel-mobileAirline travel is still a “modern” convenience relatively speaking, but as airlines continue to cut costs and streamline operations, it certainly feels like all of the enjoyment has been taken out of the experience. And in many ways, this makes sense, by standardizing service around the basic needs airlines can deliver travel at the lowest cost. Any “frills” can be charged a-la-carte, allowing consumers to pay for only for those costs they incur, whether it’s a checked suitcase or a bottle of water on board the flight.

In addition to taking away these amenities, airlines are also looking to encourage customer self service. By providing customers with mobile apps that let them satisfy their own needs, airlines can cut down on labor costs and also expedite processes like boarding and check-in. That why the Wall Street Journal observes that most “big airlines have invested heavily in their mobile apps and filled them with lots of capabilities that can save you time, keep you better-informed, help you check in, board and navigate airports and, in some cases, tap into in-flight entertainment.” This last category is interesting, as airlines like United and Southwest have begun providing streaming video content on-board their planes, which can be accessed via customers’ own phones, tablets and laptops. By allowing customers to take a “bring your own device” approach to entertainment, customers have increased flexibility while the airlines avoid the cost of installing and maintaining seat-back video monitors.

Aside from interacting with your airline, mobile technology is impacting the entire travel experience and in a separate article, the WSJ examines how “Technology Will Speed You Through the Airport of the Future” and illustrates how facial recognition and beacons will improve everything from the check-in and security experience to dining in the establishment. These advancements are in addition to areas we’ve previously explored, including how baggage check is being expedited through the use of NFC tags, and how we can customize the traveler’s experience as they journey through different phases of their trip.

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