Air travel is taking off again after a severe decline in recent years. Here we look at how technology can get it moving faster.

Because no one is pretending there’s an easy road back to pre-2020 passenger volumes.

Progress is being impeded by new challenges.

Severe staffing issues, high passenger and baggage volumes, economic pressures, and mounting fuel costs are all problems. As a result, airports and airlines have been forced to operate with limited capacity.

So how do airlines scale operations to return to normality?

One solution is to increase operational efficiency with flexible and scalable technology.

This guide reveals the main obstacles and how smart data capture on mobile apps can help you:

  • Flexibly scale operations.
  • Utilize automation to optimize workflows.
  • Reap the benefits of smart data capture on smart devices.
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Focus on flexibly scaling ground staff

Chaos has engulfed airports and airline operators this summer.

Lost baggage, lengthy check-in queues, plus last-minute flight delays and cancellations have caused major disruption and widespread customer friction.

Airlines have struggled to rehire, train, and onboard new staff quickly enough.

2.3 M

Compared with pre-covid levels, there were 2.3 million fewer jobs in the aviation industry by September 2021. These figures include a 29% fall in contracted staff at airports, such as ground handlers, where 1.7 million jobs were lost.

Source: FT

Air travel operators have been hit with unpredictable passenger numbers and unforeseen changes in travel rules. So it’s clear the industry needs a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective technology solution.

But any solution needs to be future-proofed to scale staffing up or down to handle fluctuating passenger volumes.

All while ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction.

Giving every employee a smart device equipped with smart data capture turns them into super-efficient mobile agents. They can carry out multiple tasks and switch seamlessly between them.

Smartphones are intuitive and familiar. Staff can be onboarded to handle passenger peaks with minimal training required.

Read how to scale air travel for peak seasons

Increase productivity with super-efficient mobile agents

The perfect storm of increased passenger numbers and limited staff is fueling a nosedive in operational productivity.

Boarding made simple with smart data capture

Returning to normal will undoubtedly require extra feet on the ground. But increasing operational productivity efficiency also needs a major rethink of airport workflows and process automation to manage growing queues.

For example, enabling agents to work anywhere in the airport eliminates the restriction of fixed podium working. This speeds up workflows and reduces passenger waiting times.

Technology like smart data capture can get more out of existing capacity. Mobile agents can do any task on-the move from check-in to boarding, while ground staff can track passengers and their baggage.

Customer story – How Alaska Airlines modernized boarding with mobile ID scanning

Working with Scandit, Alaska Airlines replaced costly gate hardware with high-performance mobile scanning. Their new mobile app freed up agents to provide hassle-free boarding and complete customer service workflows much more efficiently.

Read the Case Study

Enabling our agents to be mobile, frees them from being tied to hardware and allows us to reimagine the boarding experience without the usual podiums. If we need to change gates, we can just walk over with our iPads. If there is a guest that needs special assistance before boarding, we can provide customer service beside them instead of having them come to the podium.

Francis Brown, Product Manager at Alaska Airlines

Optimize workflows through automation

Air travel is a service-driven industry. Elevated levels of customer service ensure passengers choose the same airline repeatedly.

Aside from price, an airline is judged on its efficiency, punctuality, and overall customer experience. Processes and workflows affect all these factors.

Slow or clunky processes are inadequate to deal with fluctuating passenger volumes.

It’s hard to implement software updates for old check-in terminals. And outdated workflows require multiple contact points between passengers and staff for even the simplest tasks.

Innovative technology like smart data capture on smart devices offers an accessible solution to automate air travel workflows and deliver actionable insights.

Improve operational KPIs for differentiation

Airport operators use operational KPIs to track performance. The most important are those tied to passenger service and profitability.

By minimizing misconnections, for example, passengers will not be stranded in airports or need unscheduled overnight accommodation.

They will also improve passenger satisfaction by reducing minutes of delay and improving regularity figures (the number of flights canceled).

Punctuality is another differentiating KPI. Airlines that consistently depart and land on schedule attract fewer complaints and better reviews.

Using technology to streamline processes and improve passenger satisfaction will undoubtedly improve these key KPIs.

Boost operational performance

Improving air travel margins is either done by boosting sales or reducing costs – or, preferably, both.

Having a single-device strategy for all main air travel processes is one way to reduce costs and boost sales with improved customer service.

For example, replacing inflexible, expensive stationary scanners and kiosks with multi-functional smart data capture on lower-cost smart devices is a simple way to reduce costs.

Up to 50%

Save between 35% and 50% on the Total Cost of Ownership of fixed dedicated scanners with Scandit’s Smart Data Capture Solutions
Staffing represents a large proportion of operational costs. Using a single device for all tasks makes agents more productive and the business more profitable.

Reap the full benefits of smart data capture

Modern technology, such as smart data capture on mobile devices, gives air travel operators a simple, low-cost way of reducing costs, streamlining processes and enhancing customer service.

Scanning damaged baggage tags

Here’s a recap on how smart data capture can do this and help you:

  • Flex and scale capacity: app-enabled mobile devices can be scaled up or down according to need, and new staff can be onboarded quickly using a familiar device.
  • Increase productivity: Mobile agents can process passenger tickets, boarding cards, baggage tags, or IDs instantly and accurately with high-speed barcode scanning or optical character recognition.
  • Shorten check-in queues: Agents with smart devices can check in passengers more quickly and reduce queuing times.
  • Track passengers and their baggage: Data is captured once boarding passes and baggage tags are scanned enabling tracking anywhere in the airport to improve security, traceability, and reduce the risk of human error.
  • Improve passenger interaction: Augmented reality (AR) functionality gives agents instant access to real-time information so they can change seats, change flights or inform passengers about gate assignments, flight schedules, upgrades or qualifying travel vouchers. Watch how.
  • Speed up boarding: Agents are no longer tied to check-in desks or boarding gates. They simply use a smartphone to quickly and accurately scan boarding passes, passports or crew badges on the move. The smartphone is also a communications tool to maintain contact with the flight crew.
Customer story – Scandinavian Airlines delivered superior customer service with a Scandit-Powered App

Scandinavian Airlines reduced costs while improving customer experience by replacing expensive, dedicated scanners with a Scandit-powered smartphone app.

Using a single mobile app, customer service agents are able to provide a highly personalized and seamless experience for passengers.

Read the Case Study

Mobile devices serve our digital strategy to create more efficient processes. Our operating staff deliver superior customer service by scanning boarding passes, passports, luggage packages, and coupons with Scandit-powered mobile devices instead of traditional scanner devices.

Sören Fredriksson, IT Project Manager, SAS.

Deploy smart data capture to scale to normal

Air travel operators need reliable technology to scale for unpredictable peaks in demand. Smartphones equipped with Scandit smart data capture are ideal for transforming operations.

They have inbuilt flexibility and can be easily updated. New innovations are easily adopted like AR without complex workarounds due to long tech cycles.

All tasks are done through a single device, from check-in to boarding and passenger management to baggage management.

Air travel operators are empowered with the right tools and real-time information for scalable, cost-efficient, and future-proof operations.

Mobile smart data capture reduces costs, improves productivity, and streamlines and automates workflows. In short, air travel enterprises can deliver efficient and effective services for passengers.

If you would like to discuss how we could help you to scale operations easily, please get in touch.