Increase in smartphone usage for travellers
October 5th, 2011 by elisa

Smartphone picture by Flickr User liewcf

Smartphones are going to be an increasingly important tool for those involved in the travel industry, according to research from the 2011 SITA – Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey.

Mobile phone ownership jumped from 28% last year to 54% this year, with at least 74% of first/business travellers stating that they owned a smartphone.  With the number of travellers owning these devices on such an increase, those in the travel industry will need to take note as to how to harness their usage.

The survey found that of those carrying smartphones 73% would like to use mobile boarding passes, with 17% already admitting to using them at least once. SMS flight information is also growing in popularity, over 50% of first/business class travelers and frequent flyers receive SMS notifications.

These are not the only uses for smartphones, three out of four users would connect to a free airport Wi-Fi network for real-time information regarding  flight information, wait times at security, time to reach departure gate from current location, location of nearest lounge, and airport parking.

SITA chief executive officer Francesco Violante said: “We are now entering the era of the mobile-centric passenger, who is not only able to manage his or her journey independently but also expects personal and timely communication from airlines, airports and other providers of travel-related services.

“Smartphone penetration is opening up new frontiers for passenger self-service across key steps of the passenger journey from check-in to boarding. Technology on mobile devices, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, can be used to improve passenger flow, alleviating areas of passenger concern such as queues at border control and security.”

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