SITA OnAir has launched a new-generation inflight application that it hopes will encourage more passengers to use its Wi-Fi services while in flight.
The app is optimised for mobile phones and aims to streamline the process for passengers using inflight connectivity.
SITA OnAir says it is also making it easier for airlines to encourage inflight Wi-Fi usage by exploiting beacons in both the airport and onboard the aircraft.
Francois Rodriguez, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of SITA OnAir, said: “Wouldn’t it be easier if you could use your phone in the air just like you do on the ground? If you could swap messages, share pictures, listen to music and watch films of your choice, and keep tabs on emails as you cross continents?
“We are working hard to make sure every passenger can do that.
“Two of the main friction points have been that the portals themselves have not been sufficiently user-friendly and that passengers simply haven’t realised Wi-Fi is available.”
It says the new application makes it a much better experience for passengers. Since more than 80% of passengers have a smartphone, the new portal is optimised specifically for use on mobiles.
It can be fully customised for each airline and even integrated into the airline app.
It enables passengers to login through their social media accounts and also enables contextualised passenger information that opens up e-commerce opportunities for both airlines and third-party advertisers.
“When a passenger connects through the app, they arrive on a landing page with messages relevant to their journey, like flight and destination information. We help each airline tailor the right information to provide to suit their passengers’ requirements”, continued Rodriguez.
“The options for a pay-for or a complimentary Wi-Fi session are clearly laid out, so it is very easy to decide which level of service is appropriate and then access that service.”
SITA OnAir is also pioneering the use of beacon technology to drive usage. Beacons at the gate can be used to push messages through the airline’s app to passengers’ phones, informing them there is Wi-Fi on the plane. More beacons on the aircraft are used to remind passengers they can now start using the Wi-Fi.
“Beacons are already beginning to be used by airports across the world, transforming the passenger experience by providing gate information, help with airport navigation and retail offers,” said Rodriguez.
“We are now planning to use them to increase awareness of inflight Wi-Fi and, combined with our new portal, to make access even simpler to use.”