Touchless travel blueprint unveiled for the post-COVID-19 world

Today we released our latest report called “The Rise of Touchless Travel”, where we detail almost 30 different areas in the passenger journey that are expected to go touchless, to restore confidence in flying after COVID-19. The report is powered by an innovator in touchless technologies, Elenium Automation.

The next time you go to an airport, don’t expect to touch anything other than your own mobile phone. From arriving at the airport to collecting your luggage, the future of air travel in the COVID-19 world and beyond will be automated, touchless and more convenient than it has ever been.

“As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Ideally, it would not have taken the tragedy of the global pandemic for the industry to embrace touchless technology wholeheartedly, but I’m convinced that the end result will in many ways be better and more seamless all around,” said SimpliFlying CEO Shashank Nigam.

The aim of the report is to act as a blueprint for airlines and airports worldwide. Many of the solutions detailed are Live now, with others in the final stages of development.

Touchless travel powererd by Elenium Automation

The different areas of travel going touchless that are detailed in the report include:

  1. PPE vending machines when you arrive. Examples of airports that already have these include Dubai and Las Vegas.
  2. Kiosks and terminals that measure your vital signs and connect you to a Doctor via video if needed. Developed by Elenium Automation, these terminals are being piloted by Abu Dhabi Airport right now.
  3. Touchless check-in and baggage drop. Biometric recognition eliminates the need to scan boarding passes. With the use of Elenium’s BagDNA, each bag is then uniquely recognised in three seconds without the need to use any form of bag tags.
  4. Touchless airport security involves advanced body scanners, as well as bag scanners that remove the need for you to remove items such as liquids and place them on trays.
  5. Touchless shopping where you order via apps, digital vending machines and virtual ‘shopping walls’.  Passengers will be recognised via biometric data, and can also have the shopping delivered directly to their hotels or homes.
  6. Contactless boarding, like ‘bingo boarding’ pilot at London’s Gatwick Airport, where you are individually called up when it is time to board, instead of crowds milling around the gate.
  7. No more seat-back pockets, with both safety cards and food menus being displayed on the seat-back screens and accessible digitally via your phone.  This is a solution in development now by IFE company PXcom.
  8. Self-cleaning lavatories, such as those developed by Boeing in 2016, where ultraviolet lights disinfect 99.99% of germs.
  9. Finally, upon arrival passengers can expect to see touchless immigration and customs procedures, and baggage notifications, again to stop crowds congregating around individual baggage reclaim belts.

Touchless travel set to improve the passenger experience

According to Elenium Automation CEO Aaron Hornlimann,We thought there must be a better way, so we started by building kiosks, bag drops, and boarding gates and trying to make them as quick as possible with the whole idea that somebody checks-in in five seconds, drops off their bag in five seconds, and boards in five seconds.”

When travellers get back in the air after COVID-19, they will encounter additional health-screening measures. At the same time, touchless technologies will allow them to avoid touching multiple surfaces and ultimately make travel more convenient.

Coinciding with the release of the Touchless Travel Report, the SimpliFlying Launchpad accelerator is accepting applications from innovative startups that are ready-to-deploy touchless technologies to help kickstart travel. 

We’re working with innovators to bring their solutions to aviation, by guiding them through the complexities of the industry and helping them pilot at leading airlines and airports.  As a result, our latest report isn’t a series of predictions.  Rather, it’s a blueprint of what airlines and airports need to do now, with most of the technology listed being either already ready or very close to going Live.

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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