A Glimpse into the Fully Digital Future Air Travel
At the end of last year, we shared in our blog that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) developed industry standards to digitalize passenger experience at airports.
These standards involve contactless biometric processes, which will bring the aim of having travellers arrive at airports ready-to-fly one step closer to reality.
Recently, IATA, with industry partners, successfully tested the first fully integrated digital identity travel experience, from shopping for flights to arrival on a journey from London Heathrow (LHR) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with British Airways.
“Our vision for future travel is fully digital and secured with biometric identification. While the technology exists to do this at each stage of a journey, linking these steps together has proven challenging. Today with our partners we showed that it is possible. This will open up a world of possibilities for simpler journeys in the future,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security.
According to IATA, the trial journey illustrated the potential of a future fully integrated digital travel experience leveraging biometrics with:
This will be seen from the shopping experience, where travellers will be able to receive personalized offers through all shopping channels. The LHR-FCO passenger shared their loyalty card data (stored as a verifiable credential in their smart phone’s digital wallet) with a travel agent.
This enabled airlines to use the new IATA’s data exchange programme to make personalized offers through the travel agent channel.
Once the traveller has chosen among the offers, an order is generated as a verifiable credential that can be stored in a digital wallet.
No more Passenger Name Records, e-tickets or electronic miscellaneous documents are needed.
All the information about the journey is stored in the verifiable credential, which can also be read as a QR code.
Effortless Travel Requirements Check
Many processes can be done long before the traveller gets to the airport.
Along with the digital wallet, a digital passport (stored in the traveller’s digital wallet) will be a key enabler.
By sharing the nationality data of the digital passport, passengers can confirm their travel document requirements. IATA has a solution to support real-time information on travel document requirements for international air travel.
“Ready to Fly” – Simplifying and Securing Check-ins
The LHR-FCO traveller also chose to share their digital passport and order data with their airline, British Airways, to receive a confirmation that they are Ready-to-Fly and seat assignment via text message, being spared from manual data input.
Traditional boarding passes may become optional if travellers are offered and accept a contactless experience at the airport.
Contactless Airport Experiences
For travellers who choose to share their biometric data, storing your phone and proceeding hands-free (with your phone and your passport in your pocket or purse) through the airport will be possible.
Biometric gates cleared the way for the LHR-FCO traveller through security, into lounges and onto the aircraft.
“As an airline, we are always innovating and looking at ways to make the customer journey as seamless as possible. We introduced biometric boarding on selected flights earlier this year and it has been a huge success with positive customer feedback. Working with IATA on enabling a fully integrated travel journey helps us build on that and shows us what could be possible in the future,” said Dirk John, British Airways Chief Information and Digital Officer.
The full paper about the end-to-end journey using Digital Identity can be found here
Source: International Air Transport Association (IATA)
On a side note, in New Zealand, the NZ Customs authorities have recently conducted trials involving digital declarations as an alternative to conventional paper arrival cards.
These digital declarations are seamlessly integrated with travellers’ passports and are automatically processed upon their arrival in New Zealand.
The successful outcome of these trials has led to the implementation of this technology, offering travellers arriving at all New Zealand international airports the choice to complete a digital declaration instead of a traditional paper arrival card before their journey to the country.
P.S. Easy Freight Ltd helps New Zealand importers & exporters to save money on international freight and reduce mistakes by guiding how to comply with Customs and biosecurity rules.
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