Travel, the world’s third-largest industry, is on track to grow nearly 4 percent annually over the next decade, outpacing global economic growth, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. Increasing demand and new technology are driving promising developments that should make business travel more pleasant, from airplanes with party rooms to suitcases that tell you where they are.
Contractor Skanska USA has identified three key factors driving airport design today: bigger planes, the need for flexible and efficient security screening and the ability to accommodate the increased time passengers spend in terminals (an average of 108 minutes, a figure that has more than doubled in the past decade).
In the terminal, biometrics may replace your driver’s license. Clear, a membership service that captures your fingerprints and iris scans, is providing biometric identity measures at 12 U.S. airports. Plans for the new Terminal 4 slated to open at Singapore Changi Airport in 2017 include biometric scanning.
The Internet of Things will come to bag tags. AT&T is developing a smart luggage tag with real-time tracking that may, for example, allow travelers to pinpoint the location of their suitcases in baggage claim. In its “Future of Travel 2024” report, travel search engine Skyscanner noted that British Airways and Microsoft have each tested smartphone activated digital bag tags that eliminate paper.
Customer service is also going virtual. JetBlue, Verizon and VGo have teamed up to create Crewbot, an adult-size robot with a screen that displays a service rep working remotely to answer questions; the project has been tested at Terminal 5 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
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