There have been groundbreaking innovations in the aviation industry in the past decade, and fliers are definitely reaping the benefits. At the heart of these innovations are factors like convenience, speed, and intuitive technologies.

  1. Self-boarding at gates
    The process of boarding a flight usually involves multiple interactions with airline staff. Still, passengers at several airports can now scan their boarding passes to open automated clearance gates and board planes on their own. The McCarran Airport in Las Vegas introduced this system in 2012.
  2. Wireless tablet at airport terminals
    The benefit of new technology like portable tablets could change the way airports verify and check-in passengers. So the next time you catch a flight, you may spot airline staff using wireless tablets connected to the airport’s check-in and boarding systems and perhaps even offer passengers on the spot upgrades like priority boarding and seats with more legroom.
  3. Tagging bags high-tech style
    High tech Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips attached to checked bags could prevent luggage loss or misplacement. This high-tech baggage handling system is currently installed at McCarran Airport, which has over 55 sensors installed to track bags.
  4. Replacing traditional boarding passes with web check-in.
    The near-field communication (NFC) chips in Android phones come in handy at airports with NFC sensors installed. Travellers can avoid paper-boarding passes and get their boarding passes emailed on their phones through web check-in and scan the code on their screens, avoiding long check-in queues.
  5. Wi-Fi in the sky
    While some airlines have partially implemented Wi-Fi services onboard long flights, the technology is still at a prototype stage. Airlines are looking to rely on air-based internet satellites for consistent Wi-Fi.
  6. Adjusting reservations automatically
    Flight delays can have a domino effect on passengers’ other reservations like airport pickup, hotel’s check-in, etc. Yilu is currently working on aggregating all travel reservations into a single system, which would automatically modify reservations in the event of delays or cancellations.
  7. Predicting flight delays
    JetBlue Technology Ventures (partnering with Lumo) have developed statistical models that simulate the flight conditions; the data from this gets converted into a rating score providing a real-time (Which meaning of ‘pitch’ is being used here?) of whether travellers will encounter delays or not.
  8. Handling bags through self-driving cars
    How about your self-driving cars handling your bags? British Airways’ Senior Design Manager, Mr Cooper, said that an airport’s highly regulated environment is ideal for automated vehicles to route bags to their correct flights.
  9. Face scans
    London’s Heathrow Airport is planning to utilise face scanning for passenger identification. The process automatically identifies a person up to three feet away, mapping data from their devices and a database.
  10. Iris scans
    London’s Gatwick Airport has implemented 34 AOptix InSight VM iris recognition devices to record the unique patterns within the irises of a traveller’s eye. The data is stored temporarily and is used for passenger identification.