Airlines look to apps as trusted travel companions3 minute read
Flyers of a certain age can remember when a highlight of inflight "entertainment” was tracking your flight’s route on a grainy bulkhead screen halfway up the cabin, via a map that had the graphic sophistication of Atari.
Now, passengers can do that right from their smartphone. On an interactive, live map capable of pointing out interesting landmarks as you fly over them.
No longer just for mobile check-ins and flight status, airline apps have the power to dramatically enhance the inflight experience and boost customer loyalty. Here are a few ways carriers are improving their apps to strengthen that connection.
Help flyers get ready for takeoff
Passengers already use airline apps to check their departure gate, change their seat selection and pre-pay for baggage. Imagine also being able to create an inflight playlist, preselect movies or bookmark duty-free shopping selections to order onboard. Adding additional customer-experience features that help passengers get flight-ready is a great way to make the app more sticky – and less likely to be deleted.
Customize the onboard experience
Once a passenger’s personal electronic device is paired with the seatback monitor, the seat is transformed from a generic to a personal experience. Airline companion apps empower passengers to control and customize their cabin experience, from resuming a movie where they left off on their last flight, to recalling their in-seat lighting and seat positioning preference.
Content-focused features on companion apps are just the point of entry for a more dynamic, ‘sit back and be transported’ experience, notes Raymond Kollau, founder of Airline Trends and co-founder of the PaxEx 360 passenger experience design consultancy.
“As showcased with Panasonic’s Waterfront seating concept, synchronizing personal data between a customer’s smartphone and the IFE system allows the creation of more immersive ‘just-for-me’ experiences,” says Kollau.
Multi-screening is a way of life on the ground. Giving passengers this capability at 30,000 feet removes friction and elevates their onboard experience. Who wants to pause the movie playing on their seatback screen to check their flight arrival gate when they can just tap an app and see it on their smartphone? Ditto for paying for drinks or duty-free purchases. Companion apps designed to let passengers multitask keep them as comfortable in the air as they are at home. Which keeps them flying their favorite airline.
Learn more in "6 Things Airlines Can Do With Their Companion Apps"