Inflight wi-fi app optimizes cellphone access


September 30, 2015 – SITA OnAir has launched an inflight wi-fi application, optimized for mobile phones, that has been designed to streamline wi-fi access. In parallel, the company is also making it easier for airlines to encourage inflight wi-fi usage by exploiting beacons in airports and onboard aircraft.

“Wouldn’t it be easier if you could use your phone in the air just like you do on the ground?”, said Francois Rodriguez, chief strategy and marketing officer of SITA OnAir. “Two of the main friction points have been that the portals themselves have not been sufficiently user-friendly and that passengers simply haven’t realized wi-fi is available.”

Since over 80% of passengers have a smartphone, the ‘New generation inflight Wi-Fi’application has been optimized specifically for use on mobiles. It can be fully customized for each airline and even integrated into the airline app.

Above: An example of simple navigation to the inflight platform via the airline app

According to SITA OnAir, the App has a clean, ergonomic design and logical flow that make accessing the Internet very simple. For example, passengers can log in through their social media accounts. It also enables contextualized passenger information that opens up e-commerce opportunities for both airlines and third-party advertisers.

“When a passenger connects through the App, they arrive on a landing page with messages relevant to their journey, like flight and destination information. We help each airline tailor the right complimentary information to provide to suit their passengers’ requirements”, continued Rodriguez. “The options for a pay-for or a complimentary Wi-Fi session are clearly laid out, so it is very easy to decide which level of service is appropriate and then access that service.”

Left: The intuitive app fully integrated into the airline visual identity

SITA OnAir is also using beacon technology to drive wi-fi usage. Beacons at the gate can be used to push messages through the airline’s app to passengers’ phones, informing them there is wi-fi on the aircraft. More beacons on the aircraft are used to remind passengers they can now start using the wi-fi.

“Beacons are already beginning to be used by airports across the world, transforming the passenger experience by providing gate information, help with airport navigation and retail offers. We are now planning to use them to increase awareness of inflight wi-fi and, combined with our new portal, to make access even simpler to use,” added Rodriguez.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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