Mobile phones could save airlines $600m

The airline industry could save over $600 million within the next few years if it learns how to exploit the new features in high end mobiles. According to airline IT company SITA, mobiles’ location awareness could be used to track passengers within airports and send messages to their phones to help them get to their gate on time, cutting flight delays and saving millions.

Mobile phones could also become “personal travel folders”, says SITA, holding a passenger’s boarding passes, baggage tracking information and payment data and maybe even visa and biometric information.

It’ll be interesting to see how the airline industry balances privacy and convenience in the next few years. It’s easy to see passengers embracing mobile ticketing, even the tracking scenarios, but storing biometric data on their phone? I’m not so sure. After all, people have railed against such details being stored on passports and by the government, I’m not convinced they’d be willing to put such details in the hands of a commercial organisation for a few seconds shaved off check-in.

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