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The Rise of Touchless Travel

July 7, 2020

The next time you and your students visit an airport, don’t expect to touch anything other than your smartphone. 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’s ever been.

SimpliFlying released a new report, The Rise of Touchless Travel, detailing predictions for where travelers flying by plane could expect to encounter new and innovative touchless options along their journey.

According to SimpliFlying, to restore confidence in traveling by air in a post-pandemic world, many airports may choose to adopt any number of these options—some already being used in airports around the world:

PPE vending machines when you arrive. Examples of airports that already have these include Dubai and Las Vegas.

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 currently being piloted by Abu Dhabi Airport.

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 uniquely recognized in three seconds, without the need to use any form of bag tags.

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 in trays.

Touchless shopping where travelers could order via apps, digital vending machines and virtual “shopping walls.” Passengers could be recognized via biometric data and have their purchases delivered direct to their hotels or homes.

Contactless boarding, like the “bingo boarding” pilot at London’s Gatwick Airport. Travelers are individually called up when it’s time to board, instead of crowds milling around the gate.

No more seat-back pockets, with safety cards and food menus being displayed on the seat-back screens and accessible digitally via your smartphone—a solution in development by IFE company PXcom.

Self-cleaning lavatories, such as those developed by Boeing in 2016, where ultraviolet lights disinfect 99.99% of germs.

Upon arrival, passengers could expect to see touchless immigration and customs procedures in addition to baggage notifications, to mitigate congregating around baggage reclaim belts.

“As they say, necessity is the mother of invention,” said SimpliFlying CEO Shashank Nigam. “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.”

Aaron Hornlimann, CEO, Elenium Automation, echoed Nigam’s statement.

“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,” said Hornlimann.

To access the full report, visit SimpliFlying.

Courtesy of Teach & Travel.