Airline to Speed Check-ins with Stickers; NFC App Likely to Follow
Scandinavian Airlines will issue contactless stickers to its top frequent fliers, enabling them to check in faster at the airlines self-service kiosks, lounges and gates.
The airline, known as SAS, plans to issue the passive contactless stickers to 50,000 of its most loyal customers, EuroBonus Gold members, starting in September. They could attach the stickers to the back of their phone and tap them on readers at the kiosks, lounges and boarding gates or other check-in points to automatically transmit their membership numbers. The system would be able to identify the customers and call up their flight details more quickly.
Kristine Mayer, strategic project manager at SAS and project manager of the Smart Pass service, told NFC Times the airline could easily offer the Smart Pass application to customers with full NFC phones when more handsets become available.
“At the moment, the availability of mobile phones equipped with NFC is low in Scandinavia,” she said. “When the NFC mobile market is ready, it is a natural step that SAS Smart Pass is integrated in the mobile.”
SAS held a three-month trial of the service, which ended in April, using contactless stickers with about 100 frequent fliers. Mayer said the trial “clearly showed” customers found tapping to identify themselves to be more efficient.
The Sweden-based airline since 2009 has offered mobile boarding passes using 2-D bar codes, in connection with its SMS check-in service. According to Mayer, those services have proved popular with customers.
“It is, therefore, a natural step to use the mobile phone to identify the journey through the airport,” she told NFC Times. “The mobile phone is also one of the things our passengers have easily accessible when traveling.”
A few other airlines, such as Air New Zealand, Air France and Japanese airlines have rolled out or trialed faster check-ins or boarding with contactless technology.