In response to growing passenger numbers, airports around Europe and beyond are implementing a raft of technologies to streamline the passenger experience – from digital signage and chatbots to reusable RFID bag tags. Report by Marta Dimitrova
Prague Airport trials digital signage system in six languages
Prague Airport has introduced digital signage in six different languages at the entrance to Pier B in Terminal 1. The new technology is being tested until the end of October and if it proves successful, the airport is planning to install it in other locations as part of its daily operations.
“As the number of flights at Prague Airport continues to increase, so does the number of passengers with specific language requirements,” says Václav Řehoř, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prague Airport. “The growing amount of air traffic calls for information to be provided faster and more efficiently. Therefore, digital signage is another project of Prague Airport’s technology development, which goes hand-in-hand with its construction development.”
The new digital signage system can be found at the entrance to Pier B in Terminal 1 and includes a total of eight screens. It responds in six selected languages, including Czech, English, Arabic, Russian, Korean and Chinese, depending on the specific locations where passengers have come from or where they are going to at any given moment.
The signage system provides much more information than conventional boards, including information on gates, passport control, luggage collection, and current weather in Prague.
Prague Airport is preparing other projects in the field of technological development, as part of its PRGAirportLab initiative. “For the second year now, PRGAirportLab has been focusing its projects with the help of modern technologies on five areas: safety, virtual shopping, mobility of the future, customer experience and a comfortable journey through the airport,” says Řehoř.
Gatwick Airport launches Facebook Messenger chatbot
Gatwick Airport has released the ‘Gatwick Chatbot’ on Facebook Messenger to provide passengers with easy access to information before and during their trip.
The automated language-based messaging service provides passengers with flight information, flight specific notifications, and information on airport shops, restaurants and other facilities.
For instance, passengers can simply type their destination, select their flight from a list and then receive real-time updates on the status of that flight.
At the moment, the chatbot understands and answers about 80% of the questions it receives. The airport expects this to increase to around 95% in a year’s time, once it has had an opportunity to learn from its interactions with users.
Plans are also in place to cover additional channels such as WhatsApp and Apple Business Messenger in the future to ensure that passengers can get answers to their questions on their preferred chat platform.
London Stansted Airport opens new check-in area as part of transformation project
Passengers using London Stansted this summer have been enjoying a new and improved check-in area thanks to the completion of the latest terminal upgrade as part of the airport’s ongoing transformation project. Eight new check-in desks opened on 11 July, with passengers travelling with TUI to Heraklion in Crete the first to use them.
“The new check-in area looks fantastic and received a big thumbs up from the passengers who used them for the first time on Thursday,” said Paul Willis, Business Change Director for the London Stansted Transformation Project.
The desks are in a ‘shoreline’ configuration which means that when passengers enter the terminal the new desks will be directly in front of them. The airport has also installed new white to black floor tiles surrounding the check-in zone which subtly helps passengers navigate where they need to go.
New remote check-in station now available for passengers travelling from Dubai Airport
Baggage technology and logistics company DUBZ has opened a new check-in station in The Dubai Mall – one of the world’s most visited retail and lifestyle destinations – to offer airline passengers flying from Dubai Airport more convenience. The service is available to passengers flying with nine airlines, including flydubai, SAUDIA, flynas, China Southern, Kuwait Airways, Gulf Air, SaudiGulf, Royal Jordanian, and Ethiopian Airlines.
The station is located in the dnata Travel store on the lower ground level of the mall, where the DUBZ team checks in customers for their flights, prints their boarding passes, weighs and secures their baggage and ensures they are delivered to the airport and loaded onto the aircraft.
After collecting their boarding passes and baggage tags, customers can enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities of The Dubai Mall, and then take the Dubai metro to the airport through a travellator that links the mall to the metro station. DUBZ customers can arrive at the terminal up to 60 minutes before their flight, where they can proceed straight to passport control.
British Airways to introduce reusable RFID bag tags
British Airways passengers are now able to take advantage of a simpler luggage check-in process, following the announcement of the airline’s partnership with ViewTag.
ViewTag is a reusable, electronic bag tag that securely attaches to luggage allowing customers to take more control of their journey by tagging their bags before they arrive at the airport. ViewTag is equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, and a digital display that shows the same flight information as traditional paper-based bag tags.
Using the British Airways mobile app, passengers can check-in to get their boarding pass and synchronise that information to their electronic bag tag with a Bluetooth LE connection using their smartphone.
Richard Warther, CEO ViewTag, said: “By allowing passengers to transfer their information digitally before they arrive at the airport, check-in is reduced to a matter of seconds.”
Branded “TAG” by British Airways, the product is available to purchase at the introductory price of £63, while from October the standard price will be £80.