How airports are reimagining the passenger journey for a new decade
By Iyad Hindiyeh, Global Head of Strategy, Airport IT, Amadeus
For the most part, airports have had the same mindset when it comes to passenger handling: making the passenger journey as smooth and efficient as possible. To achieve this, airport operators have embraced automation, introducing technologies such as self-service kiosks and automated bag drop units. But automation alone cannot completely address the changing needs of travellers, particularly if those automated devices are siloed. Today, travellers have become accustomed to the tailored experiences offered by digital service providers, like Netflix and Amazon, and they expect the same level of personalisation at the airport. As such, airports need to embrace a flexible and holistic approach, so they can tailor the airport experience to meet the unique needs of every passenger.
Imagine a solo business flyer. She checks into her flight from her smartphone, drops off her luggage using an automated bag drop unit, and values the speed and convenience of biometrics. But this traveller’s ‘low-touch’ experience doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Imagine instead a retired couple that travels once a year for their summer vacation. They value the personal touch that comes from check-in agents and prefer having their passports and boarding passes to hand. With a flexible passenger handling platform, hybrid automated devices, and the right mix of self and full service technology, airports can have the adaptability to meet the needs of both passenger types, servicing them as per their requirements.
Underlying this move to a new more flexible approach is the reality that many airports must accommodate rising traveller numbers, while in many cases not being able to expand physical infrastructure. Automation and optimisation are assisting airports in meeting this challenge, but, as explained above, it can’t be a one size fits all approach. Thankfully, as we enter a new decade, we are seeing the arrival of the key elements needed to create and deliver a truly tailored end-to-end passenger experience.
At Amadeus, our biometric solutions draw on our unique position as a technology provider to the entire travel industry. We can offer travellers the ability to enrol once, use everywhere, and soon we expect passengers to authenticate themselves using biometrics at every touchpoint: check-in, bag drop, security, boarding, even the airport lounge. But why does this matter?
Well, if an airport has already done the groundwork of delivering a flexible foundation of self-service and traditional agent-service, then biometrics can be one of the final elements in creating a fully automated experience across the airport. The travellers who choose to use such a solution would be liberated to move through the airport seamlessly, their face automatically recognised as they approach the various touchpoints.
But then, what use is a fully automated biometric journey if the traveller needs to enrol and reenrol with each travel provider and at each destination? That’s why at Amadeus we are bringing our unique SaaS experience and role as a globally trusted IT integration partner to solutions that work across the entire industry: airlines, airports, rail, hotels, hire cars and more.
Airports can no longer rely on the one size fits all approach to passenger service. Instead, they need to leverage new technologies to deliver a tailored, streamlined approach. At Amadeus, we’re proud to be putting in place the building blocks, which enables just this to happen.