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Smartphone Innovations Speed Travel

Smartphone Innovations Speed Travel
© Artiga Photo / Corbis.

Nine out of 10 airlines said they plan to sell tickets via smartphones by 2015, establishing mobile as a mainstream distribution channel for airlines, according to SITA’s Airline IT Trends Survey 2012. By 2015, most airlines plan to have core services available via mobile, such as flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, flight status notification and ancillary services, followed closely by customer complaint handling and missing baggage management. In addition, nine out of 10 airlines said they are investing in social media over the next three years. Four out of 10 promote flights via social media already, and almost 90 percent said they plan to do so by 2015.

You may already check in for a flight on a kiosk, but one day you’re likely to use a self-boarding machine that checks boarding passes at the gate. At least 17 airlines in Europe and Asia use self-boarding machines, and several U.S. carriers—including Delta, United and American—have tested the devices, according to the International Air Transport Association. Besides cutting labor costs, proponents say the devices leave agents more time to upgrade passengers, police the size of carry-on bags and sell seats with more legroom. One agent can purportedly monitor more than one self-boarding gate.

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