Travel is evolving rapidly as airline, rail, and cruise companies race to improve efficiency and passenger experience with technology.

But where should the big bets be?

We believe self-service, personalization, and data capture are the way forward.

Here are our insights on how these areas can drive revenue and productivity while helping to deliver friction-free travel to passengers. This is based on our experience working with some of the world’s top businesses.

Innovate to keep passengers happy and costs down

A smooth transition from A to B will likely be forgotten. A delay or cancelation could mean people never travel with you again.

Keeping passengers happy and improving their journey – at the airport, port, station, or even buying a ticket at home – is always a focus.

And so is the need to keep costs down.

Doing all of these things is a struggle.

The chart below, by TMNT, compares poor Tripadvisor reviews between 2020 and 2023. It gives some indication of where the challenges lie for airlines.

Share of all airline reviews on Tripadvisor by topic.
Source: Lufthansa Innovation Hub Analysis,, Tripadvisor, Quid Discover.

We see this situation as typical for the travel industry as a whole. One where people are literally being processed and moved from one place to another will hit a roadblock at some point.

Ultimately, the entire airport and airline process is all about passenger experience. Enhancing this is top of the to-do list for most operators as they seek to reduce the stress and anxiety experienced by passengers within the terminal before they travel. AI can play a big role in creating personalized passenger experiences that meet the specific needs of specific travelers

Microsoft UK chief technology officer for aviation, Daniel Williams

Starting the journey at home - self-service options

Airport check-in fell 22% between 2015 to 2021. While 18% check in via a desktop browser. (Statista)

Gone are the days when people would automatically buy a ticket at a station or turn up at the airport and check in.

Travel companies need to make self-service more accessible for customers, especially with new travel regulations coming into effect, such as ETIAS (for EU travel).

Scandit has a solution for passengers checking in with a desktop browser.

Our Web SDK can easily integrate with a website and capture passport details from a webcam. Plus, we have developed a way to introduce this with one line of code.

Bringing in this functionality saves passengers from manually entering advanced passenger information (API) from their passports.

According to McKinsey, younger travelers especially demand integrated digital journeys. By 2027, their appetite for efficient biometric and digital passes will likely popularize new technologies.

Replacing the static terminal by empowering mobile agents

12% of travelers described checking in as a significant pain point. (TNMT)

Many passengers still check in at the airport.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) made a simple technological switch, which allowed faster check-ins, as well as personalized gate experiences, and seamless booking and seat changes.

What is this amazing new technology?

Just a regular smartphone with a camera.

SAS gave its mobile agents smart devices capable of capturing and parsing boarding passes and other visa documents. The device’s apps are powered by the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK.

It can turn any staff member into a mobile agent, allowing the airline to scale operations up and down. Moreover, each device can provide valuable data on passenger flow.

Many airlines are using this strategy. And Scandit’s technology can be used for check-in for a cruise trip or flight.

On-the-spot travel information

Delays and flight irregularities are one of the biggest problems for passengers. While the number of canceled US flights has halved since 2022, delays are still challenging.

The vast majority of US cancellations in 2022-23 were down to weather conditions, according to Opsnet.

Bad weather is unavoidable. However, keeping passengers informed about cancellations is not only achievable, it helps reduce uncertainty.

Here is an area we believe mobile agents have a part to play. In the example below they are scanning a passenger boarding pass to get instant flight information relayed on-screen.

They can also use the device to give them a voucher for their favorite cafe if there is a delay.

Lost and found - connecting passengers with their baggage

Some 26 million pieces of luggage were lost, delayed, or damaged in 2022. Amounting to nearly eight bags in every 1,000. (Passenger Terminal Today)

Everyone is nervous about losing luggage. But this is especially true for air travel due to the logistics processes.

But – even if they all look the same – there are ways to find the right suitcase quickly.

One solution is to add smart data capture technology to a device with a camera. In the hands of a mobile agent, it can quickly locate the correct bag (see the video below).

Giving airline staff this technology on their devices means they can work faster and provide a better service.

And have happier passengers.

Retail and travel: an ideal partnership

The global airport retail market size was valued at $34.7 billion in 2022 in 2022 and will reach $72.2 billion by 2028.

One area where brick-and-mortar retail is in solid health is the airports.

Retailers on cruises and rail stations are in a similarly strong position. But there are ways to make this more attractive.

Smartphones offer an opportunity to open a one-to-one digital connection to consumers in a physical store. Like scanning products:

  • Scanning products with smartphones to view AR overlays showing detailed information or even arranging something to be sent to their home.
  • Display personalized offers by scanning a shelf. This can be linked to their upcoming journey.
  • Provide product information such as ratings, reviews, and comparisons.

These features can be applied more strategically in an airport or ship than in a high street store. Why? Because you already know something about the passenger’s destination. If they are going on vacation, they are more likely to buy something for the trip.

Scandit can enable your customer app to handle all of this functionality.

Loyalty schemes and upgrades

One way to achieve happier passengers is through loyalty schemes.

Travel brands have long had access to reams of customer data… But many travel brands haven’t yet captured the opportunity to use this unique data to offer their members personalization on par with other industries.


Again smart devices can be integral to enabling loyalty programs. Especially in the airport where customers might need to scan barcodes for offers. Or get coupons through a loyalty app.

Mobile agents can also scan a ticket and offer an upgrade. Their device can even use mPOS to take the payment.

Key to this is the ability to collect and use data correctly. Then use it to personalize the service around the passenger’s history and previous journeys.

Passengers using AI to plan their journey

63% of American travelers utilize AI on phones to research and book flights, according to Skyscanner.

AI chatbot apps like ChatGPT hit the mainstream long ago. The old way of answering questions, ie, organic search or manually researching, is still there.

But passengers find increasingly sophisticated ways to use AI as their personal travel assistant.

Travel companies will increasingly switch to AI. There is a big opportunity to create their own applications using their own data with existing large language models (LLMs). This will create the kind of personalized response to these questions that could blow average passenger ChatGPT request away.

The key is to ensure the data comes in. And that it is accurate and up-to-date.

The Future - what is needed to ensure better personalization?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already utilized for identity verification, boarding procedures, baggage handling, security checks, and managing passenger flow. For more, check out our guide “AI Take-Off: 17 Airline Innovations Boosting Experience and Reducing Costs“.

Beyond lies a future where AI facilitates highly personalized passenger experiences tailored to their preferences and travel habits.

To achieve this, there needs to be an accurate flow of data. One of the key places it can come from is the smart device(s).

By putting the right smart data capture technology on it, it can both provide feedback on the environment and interact with it.

It highlights the need for various stakeholders involved in the airport experience to collaborate, collect and share data.

Scandit insight - better data with more scans

Scandit can answer many of these use cases. It is already being used by many airlines to help passengers start their journey.

Here are just a few of the examples:

  • ID Verification. Scandit can scan and parse passports at the gate. At the same time, our Barcode Scanner SDK can handle visas and other documentation.
  • Web SDK. Allow the passengers to check themselves in without making it a complex data entry task. Instead, they can just scan their passport.
  • MatrixScan Augmented Reality. Scan multiple items (such as products) simultaneously and display information about them on-screen.

The trends point to a more personalized and stress-free passenger experience.

Want to find out how our tools can help you make that happen? Get in touch with us, and we’ll take you through it.

Or just try it for yourself with our demo apps.