The low-cost carrier is revolutionizing airport travel for the average Indian traveler.
Airports. Not a destination you can avoid if you are a frequent traveler. It is a place where you find yourself over and over again every time you begin or end a trip. And wouldn’t you wish you could cut down the wait time, skip the long queues and enjoy a hassle-free, paperless journey?
Since 2013, passengers entering Indian airports can carry an e-ticket while entering the airport. While a large number of smart travelers check-in 48 hours prior to their flight, but they still have to carry a printed boarding pass or print them at airport kiosks.
However, one low-cost carrier is changing the dynamics of airport travel for the average Indian traveler.
Spicejet in July launched a smart check-in facility at Hyderabad Airport using beacons and Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies. Using the new system, a Spicejet traveler can now do two things:
One, the Spicejet customer needs to walk into the airport with his Spicejet Mobile App and Bluetooth on, the application detects the beacon and communicates to the backend application to initiate the check-in process. The e-boarding pass is sent to the customer mobile post successful identification of the customer.This feature is available for customers who have booked through the Spicejet mobile app.
Two, a Spicejet customer who has booked his tickets using the mobile app, can simply open the app and touch the mobile device on the NFC check-in poster (an RFID-tagged sign) displayed near the entrance of the check-in counter , and retrieve their mobile boarding pass on their smartphones.
“Most airlines in the world use this technology for lounge access or identifying their privileged customers. However, we wanted to make this technology accessible to our regular customers as well,” says Glory Nelson, Senior Vice President - IT at SpiceJet.
“The new technology has reduced the entire check-in process to less than a minute,” says Nelson.
However, currently, only 1.5 percent of overall Spicejet bookings are done on mobile. This new initiative is aimed at encouraging their customers to book using the app.
For Spicejet passengers boarding or de-boarding at Hyderabad, the new smart check-in process is nothing less than a blessing. It is because, in December 2015, Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Hyderabad became the first airport in India to go live on e-boarding for all domestic passengers.
Nelson says that Spicejet is also in talks other airports including Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) to use the smart check-in facility.
Till then, the airline is enabling other alternatives in a bid to not only ease the check-in process for its customers but also reduce the burden of its ground staff during busy hours.
“Instead of asking the customer to come to us, we wanted to go to the customer and change the traditional check-in and boarding process with the help of technology,” says Nelson.
A Spicejet ground staff can walk up to the customer waiting in a queue and use the newly launched tablet-based app, complete the check-in process as well as print the boarding pass using a Bluetooth printer.
“The entire check-in process takes less than 40 seconds,” says Nelson.
The airline has also implemented CUSS based kiosks application at Mumbai International Airport, and will be rolled out soon at all airports operated by Airport Authority of India (AAI). This application also enables Spicejet customers to enter the PNR number to print their boarding pass and baggage tags.
To encourage the use of the new smart check-in facility, Spicejet also sends an sms to a customer before a flight departure to use the feature. Still, many more domestic as well as international airports in India need to allow e-boarding facility.
Nevertheless, the initiative is first of its kind in, and Spicejet has certainly raised the bar on customer service and digital experience.
The new technologies have reduced the entire check-in process to less than a minute.