Holiday travel made easier with mobile technology

By Jonathan Crowl

For all of the joys that come with the holiday season, holiday travel is rarely one of them. According to AAA, the 2017 holiday travel season will be the busiest since 2007, with nearly 51 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles to their destinations. Of that group, the vast majority will be traveling by plane, and the experience figures to be full of friction: long security lines, cramped airport terminals and the inevitable complications of inclement weather.

The interior of the airplane doesn’t make things easier on travelers, either. Smarter Travel reports that legroom on airplanes has been reduced by up to five inches on some planes as airlines look to fit more seats into each cabin, packing travelers into rows like sardines. And though the average American hip width is 20.6 inches, most airline seats are only 17 to 18.5 inches wide — not exactly roomy or comfortable.

You’re not alone if this leaves you feeling claustrophobic. However, for all the torment that comes with cramming your body into a tiny space, mobile technology is here to help.

Improved Wi-Fi access in airports and planes

When it comes to using mobile devices in the terminals, airports have steadily improved both the availability of free Wi-Fi and the speed of mobile connections. Network World notes several major US airports rank among the world’s best in terms of mobile access and download speeds. In terms of digital access to Wi-Fi networks, the US ranks with Thailand as having the world’s most accessible airports.

According to Routehappy, there was an increase in 2017 of “more than one billion available seat miles per day with at least a chance of Wi-Fi” compared to 2016. With each passing year, more aircrafts are outfitted with passenger wifi technology and some planes even off the service for free. In fact, passengers boarding US-based airline planes have an 83 percent chance of getting on a flight that has in-flight connectivity.

Hopefully, the ability to watch videos, play games and catch up on news in the terminal and en route should provide some comfort to holiday travelers.

Convenient mobile ticketing

Waiting in long lines to check luggage and pass through security can make the holiday travel experience even more frustrating, especially when travelers are racing the clock to catch their flight. But mobile ticketing helps eliminate friction in this process while speeding up the time to arrive at the gate. Travelers who aren’t checking luggage can bypass the check-in lines and carry their mobile boarding passes directly to security.

Meanwhile, it becomes unnecessary to juggle multiple paper boarding passes and risk losing them in the terminal, which would require visiting a kiosk to get them reprinted — not an ideal situation when every minute counts and being late is not an option.

Better mobile technology to operate planes

The implications of mobile technology aren’t limited to the individual traveler. Airplanes and flight crews are also using enterprise mobility to perform more efficiently and provide better service to passengers.

In the cockpit, mobile technology helps manage the airplane and navigate to its next destination, with GPS facilitating more accurate landings. Mobile technology can also serve as a diagnostic tool when working on airplanes, enabling the crew to identify and fix problems faster. This speeds up their performance, reducing flight delays and improving worker morale. As of this year, the top regional airlines in Asia, northern Europe and North America have all adopted mobile solutions to support their crews.

Faster information when complications arise

In the event of travel delays, gate changes or other airline travel complications, consumers can use their mobile devices to get information and act faster. Rather than standing haplessly at the terminal hoping things will work themselves out, many consumers now access the most up-to-date information about gate changes and flight delays on their mobile devices.

Consumers can also use mobile devices to access certain customer services, including changing seats or switching flights, without standing in long lines and dealing with customer service representatives. Mobile technology can help empower consumers as they try to navigate frustrating travel situations such as delays or canceled flights.

You can’t always depend on a seamless travel experience during the holidays, but your mobile device will be your best tool when it comes to handling holiday travel complications, fighting the crowds or simply dealing with a common case of airport boredom.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl

Reporter

Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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