Airlines need to make the first point of contact when customers are looking for an airline and then offer seamlessly integrated services that move the customer from initial contact to their accommodation. However, even then, passengers want to look at additional services, such as restaurants, taxis, and other excursions at their destination. At every step of this process, airlines can use technology to enhance the services they offer.
- Develops brand loyalty by providing seamless transit experience.
- Finding low cost and high impact solutions
- Hassel free experience to board a flight
Followed a design process to build a seamless transit experience for the passengers.
(In this project I have not included the tracking & iteration as the challenge was about providing a relevant solution.)
🕵️♀️ Research & Discovery
I have divided the research into two segments online & user interviews. The goal of my research is:
- Identify the needs and expectations of target users.
- Identify thier journey and painpoints.
- Analyze various touchpoint where brand can provide services.
1.1 Customer Journey Map
It was important for me to understand the journey to carefully match the services to the needs of the passenger.
1.2 Identifying Persona and their needs
To understand the problem better, I have divided the user group into 2 segments i.e. leisure and business. It could be further divided on the basis of travel patterns, behavior, and demographics.
Each user goes through a common flow to board a flight but their behavior and emotions can change on the basis of circumstances, for instance if a user got stuck in traffic he might get worried about missing the flight.
- 🎒 Leisure Travelers: For Instance, passengers may want to explore the ambience of the airport and eat at restaurant.
- 💼 Business Travelers: For Instance, passengers that are on a business trip may want a lounge, with all the business facilities that they can feel free to use such as free internet access and other services such as fax, scan, and photocopy machine.
In general, the passengers can have three travel patterns
- 🛬 Arriving
- 🛫 Departing
- 🕐 Transfer
Passengers have different needs and expectations based on the way they are using the airport services and facilities. For Instance: Transfer passengers might have to spend nearly four hours at the airport. Therefore, they look for facilities to shower, take a power nap, etc.
The usage of facility and services at the airport are dependent on with whom are you traveling.
- 👨👩👦👦 Traveling in group (Family or colleagues): For Instance, Passengers traveling with families may want children to play areas where kids can have a great time while waiting to board the aircraft. They also want the availability of rooms for families traveling with babies equipped with changing facilities, baby crib, microwaves, and hot water.
- 🙍♀️ Traveling Solo: For Instance, a solo traveler may want a wifi and comfortable connection to watch movies.
The need and expectation depends highly on the type of travelers
- Age : 18 to 55 years
- Gender : Male & Female
- Income: Low, moderate or high
At this point, I was quite aware of the target users and their emotions while traveling, but I want to dive deep into the problem and keep myself into the shoes of a passenger. Hence, I interviewed 2 users:
- A passengers who had traveled with family in Feb 2020
- A passenger who had traveled for business in Jan 2020
- 👨👩👧👧 Holiday with family to Singapore: 29 Year Old, Male, Works in IT firm — Vikas Puri, wanted to take his wife, 2 children, and 57-year-old mother for a vacation. He took 4 months to plan the trip and waited for the best offers to book the airline ticket for Singapore Airlines. He always plans a trip that includes his weekends and holidays.
- 👨💼 Business Meeting on Wednesday: 40-year-old male, businessman — Sunil Verma. An international client has invited him to present a marketing strategy plan for India on Thursday. He has to come back immediately after the meeting for another important official event. He did not have much time to explore the city and want to use every minute in a fruitful manner. Therefore, he has preferred taking an early moring flight.
1.3 Finding Opportunities
After understanding the motivation, pain points, and brand touchpoints during a customer journey. I have found out the opportunities which can help an airline to provide a seamless digital experience with services.
- Real time status about the flight, checkin, immigration clearance.
- Help in locating the boarding area
- Multiple platform as per the user need and constraints
- Providing with entertainment option in flight
- Constant communication regarding the facilities, steps and precautions at airport helps in building a relationship
In this phase, I have come up with as many possible solutions as possible. I have decided the platform by evaluating the cost and the impact of each on the business.
On the basis of the research, I have figured out that creating high-functioning and the engaging app has the potential to be a key differentiator for an airline but there are many following drawbacks for this solution
- The life of an app on the user’s phone will be a maximum of 2–3 days.
- High development & maintenance cost.
- Downloading an app needs motivation.
- Caters to the need of a specific set of passengers eg: Who have long waiting hours, find’s difficulty in navigating through the airport, passengers who are traveling via airlines for the first time, millennial users.
To conclude, an app can provide a premium feel but have its own challenges. Therefore, the app should support in-flight entertainment features. The flight should allow passengers to access the in-flight app during their journey at fight mode.
Features in-flight app could be
- Transit Information
- Airport Information — navigation
- Web checkin
- Free movies
- Free songs
- Food menu
- Audible books
- Poems & games for kids
Customers are more comfortable reading and sharing information on the personal messenger. The application has already impacted the lives of the users. It is adaptable among users of all age groups. It can help in building a relationship with the passenger throughout the journey.
Few drawbacks :
- Limited capabilities
- Need support of different applications like google map
“We believe we should be where our customers are, and therefore Messenger and KLM are a good fit. Our customers feel comfortable sharing info with us via a more personal platform like Messenger.” — KLM’s social strategy
Consumers are now bombarded with marketing messages. From a customer service standpoint, airlines have a great opportunity to develop personalized experiences for their passengers. Moreover, it will SMS will be beneficial for users above 45 years and users with no internet access.
Real Time Status on Mobile Site
The user will be introduced to a web page on the day of his travel via WhatsApp and SMS. The webpage will show the real-time status of parking availability, checkin status, security check status, flight status, immigration clearance status, etc.
The purpose of this screen is to keep the user updated with waiting time and delay. So, that they can plan their journey in advance.
Features mobile site could be
- E-boarding pass
- Transit Info
- Airport Info
Other Possible Solutions
Here are more ideas that I came up with, but I have filtered them out considering the cost, impact, and adoption rate of each.
- Ability of reserve parking slot.
- Realtime status of traffic on the road.
- Facility for valet parking
- Provide pre-trip travel information and route advice based on traffic conditions.
- Tagged boarding passes and when combined with remote bag-drop capabilities.
- The baggage tagging enables airports to detect luggage at a distance or out of sight, making it easier to find misplaced or missing bags and provide up-to-date location information to passengers.
- For passenger on a business trip, the apps can also offer high-end, life-size virtual conferencing to enable “face-to-face” business meetings around the world.
- Value added solution that can be added to the apps are the mobile purchase of retail and F&B so the passengers can shop at their own convenience and it can be delivered even at the departure gate.
- Real-time status on a webpage and web notification
- The mobile app mainly for in-flight entertainment
- Whatsapp Message to update about real-time status at each step
- SMS mainly old people and used without internet access
After having clarity of the solution that I want to propose. I did rough sketching for building the final UI. During this process I have thought hierarchy of the content when to show what etc.
Users will be accessing the information related to parking status, check-in, security check-in, immigration clearance, baggage processing while walking and navigating there way.
Therefore it is useful to get inspired from the adaptive UI practices to build the final solution like large text size on web notification and webpage, limited scroll for In-flight app to avoid screen sickness, maintaining enough contrast for good readability.
- Wide range of users: 18years — 55 years
- User will be doing multiple tasks while using this app i.e. carrying luggage, find way, etc
- Minimum cognitive load
- Accessible by user with a mobility disorder
Building digital solutions will provide passengers with a better experience, but this will incur high costs for a business without any visible impact because around 80% of passengers will choose cheaper flights over a good experience. Therefore, an airline should come up with low-cost solutions like sending real-time messages on WhatsApp and SMS or creating a mobile site for showing realtime status to provide a premium experience.
I had fun accepting this design challenge as the problem requires me to think of a solution for a wider audience and at multiple platforms.