The tech startups revolutionising the flight experience

Smiling woman on a plane

Could tech startups hold the key to improving air passenger satisfaction?

Startups are emerging in every industry, disrupting the status quo with new ideas and innovations. The aviation industry has seen a flurry of activity in this area, with a number of startups striving to develop technologies to enhance the passenger experience. Intelligence provider GlobalData has compiled a list of five startups making impressive moves in this burgeoning area.

SKYdeals is one such startup. It’s an eCommerce platform that was launched in 2017 with the goal of offering inflight ‘shoppertainment’. It is seeking to ‘reinvent travel retail through onboard connectivity’. GlobalData’s airport technology writer Varsha Saraogi said of the technology: “The SKYdeals platform allows luxury brands to offer promotions to passengers who are connected to in-flight Wi-Fi. The promotions include flash sales valid only at specific times during flights, flyover offers triggered according to the country being flown over, real-time auctions that last for the duration of a flight, and group buying offers. In addition, the platform allows customers to pick up their purchase at the airport upon arrival, or have it mailed to their home address.”

Another startup seeking to enhance air travel for the passenger is TravelCar, a car-sharing app that allows travellers to reserve parking spots and rent out their vehicles when they are away for the benefit of other individuals travelling via the same airports. “It is claimed that the app offers low rental prices for holidaymakers – as much as 70-per-cent lesser prices than traditional rental companies,” said Saraogi. “Alongside providing the marketplace for listing and renting cars, TravelCar manages the necessary insurance and support for drivers and all vehicles that have been rented through its system.”

Zamna is another such startup. It is using blockchain to speed up passenger verification. Here’s Saraogi’s take: “Founded in 2016, Zamna uses blockchain to securely share passenger biometric data between airlines and government and security authorities, reducing the need for manual document checks. It claims that by using its technology, airports can reduce the time needed for ID verification by up to 90 per cent. The platform uses cryptographically sound signals to verify passenger identity.”

Another example of a startup striving to enhance air passenger satisfaction is Baggage Nanny, an on-demand baggage pickup, storage and delivery service that aims to ensure travellers enjoy every minute of their vacation. CEO and Founder Nanny Crystal Browning said: “If you’re flying into town in the morning and you can’t check into your lodging until later in the day, you can drop your baggage with us, and we’ll store them and deliver them to you when you’re ready to check in.”

Last but not least on GlobalData’s list is Flio – an app that provides users with real-time information on their flight departure times, hints and tips about 5,000 airports around the world, including maps, and wi-fi access. “In addition, the app serves as a gateway to the airport-retail audience, for instance, through push notifications with deals and coupons,” said Saraogi. “The way it benefits airports is that retail brands and airport companies are able to determine what really drives passengers and how they can improve customer satisfaction. Based on this information, airports can boost engagement with their passengers.”

With so many innovations, there has never been a better and more convenient time to fly. We at ITIJ are excited to see how tech startups continue to improve the flight experience.