Aviation is on the cusp of something big. New materials, methods and interconnected technologies will fundamentally change the passenger experience, for the better, within a matter of years.
Read on to find out what’s on the horizon, and how these changes might affect your staffing requirements.
Airline passenger departure could be completely automated within five years, with self-service systems potentially replacing check-in staff altogether.
This should help to eliminate queues, making the process faster and less stressful.
Airlines believe the following technology will be used in the future:
- 91% will allow passengers to check in with their smartphones within three years
- 41% predict biometric check-in within 10 years
- 14% expect to trial robots for checking in bags within 10 years
Security will be streamlined using techniques like IATA’s ‘Smart Security’, or China’s decision to have male and female-only lanes.
Aviation companies will add a touch of luxury to terminals too, with digital art installations, pop-up living rooms and Emirates’ new Moet & Chandon in-lounge bar.
These developments will change the role of check-in staff to something that fuses hospitality with sufficient technological know-how to assist with the new systems.
While the flight itself is unlikely to change anytime soon, the cabin is set to become quieter and more spacious, with larger windows and healthier cabin pressurisation.
This can already be seen in widebody aircraft including the Bombardier CS100, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’ A350 and new AirSpace. Aeromexico’s new entrance lobby and self-service bar is proof of this aim. British Airways are also planning expansions – they will be adding an extra 52 seats onto Boeing 777 economy flights.
Rotating overhead storage bins will add to the sense of spaciousness, making it easier for airline passengers to stow a weekend-sized carry on bag in the cabin.
In-flight entertainment (IFE) is on the verge of a major change. Finnair has now committed to fleet-wide investment in Wi-Fi, while 24% of airlines intend to integrate virtual reality within a decade.
Third-parties are getting in on the act too. The Blippar AR (augmented reality) app lets passengers scan patterns on branded amenity kits to access airline-specific content, including activity ideas and health tips.
With these developments, cabin crew can look forward to happier passengers and more space to operate in — a general improvement of working conditions. More self-service options might also mean fewer crew are required by premium airlines.
Arrival and baggage collection could soon be completely unrecognisable, with 71% of airlines set to offer real-time baggage checking status within three years.
This will be supported by RFID bag tagging, which has already been pioneered by All Nippon Airways. With this technology, passengers drop off their own bags, which are then digitally measured, weighed and photographed.
The passenger receives a traceable RFID bag tag which can be used to locate the item faster on arrival, or to find lost luggage.
And, using FlightPath3D on the in-flight screen — as integrated by KLM and Virgin Atlantic — passengers can find out when they’ll arrive at their final destination, book an Uber and even do a spot of shopping.
RFID developments will enable baggage handlers to work smarter and faster, provided they can keep up with technology. And, with better-informed passengers who can act for themselves, cabin crew will be able to focus more on operational responsibilities.
By investing in new technology and optimising your workforce to adapt to new methods, you can give airline passengers the air travel experience they clearly crave.
With new technology and increased customer expectation, staff will need to accommodate and exceed these demands by harmonising with new technological features. Find out how AeroProfessional can help you source the perfect candidates for these positions and keep you up-to-date with the latest aviation and recruitment business practices.