Improved travel experience with Blockchain technology
-By Bryan Shelmon-
The travel industry is continuously changing. This is beginning to happen faster than most people can keep up with. We’re seeing a rise in the sharing economy when it comes to ground transportation and accommodation. Private jets have even begun to enter into the sharing economy to make it more accessible for the average traveler. As the world continues to become more globalized, commercial travel is approaching a stage of major changes.
New airlines, budget travel, and even the need to travel has stirred up the travel industry. Airports are seeing a lot more traffic on a daily basis. Airlines and airports have been actively seeking ways to speed up the process of getting passengers into the terminals and onto their flights. The solution could easily be developing already in other industries that they have yet to consider on a mainstream level. Blockchain technology could be the solution to the travel industry’s current situation.
Current travel processes
Travel has always been a hectic situation for passengers, especially around holiday seasons. There’s an unspoken rule in airports that the less time a plane is on the ground, the more money the airline saves for using the gates. This hurried mindset of the employees contrasts with the confused actions of travelers as they struggle to find everything necessary to present to be able to board their flight. The required documents can include everything from boarding passes, official identification, passports for international travel, credit cards for validation, etc. Also for international travel, all this information must be presented yet again when going through customs and immigration where you are proceeded to be questioned about everything that you present and your travel intentions. There is appropriate reason that you’re required to be at the airport hours before your actual travel time.
But what if there was a way to streamline this entire process? What if there was a way to automatically deliver all of the information needed to the airlines with one simple action? Blockchain technology just might be what’s necessary to make the travel process a lot more convenient for everyone.
What is Blockchain technology?
Blockchain technology first gained prominence in the financial technology industry as a way to trade currencies more efficiently between users. Most people have heard about Bitcoin which is the most popular application that uses blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology is simply a shared log of activity that “checks” itself whenever a new action is taken. Typically, a Blockchain is managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new “blocks”. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and a collusion of the network majority.This ensures all of the information stays up to date for the specific activity. This technology can be applied to identity as well. Imagine it as being a digital ID or passport that store all of your information from Name, Age, country of origin, and various destinations you’ve obtained visas from. When you purchase a plane ticket under your name, it will automatically be connected to this data to verify that it was actually you that made the purchase. All you will need to do is present your unique ID number or pin, comparable to your social security number, and your identity, boarding pass, etc. would be verified.
Benefits to using Blockchain identity framework for travel
Having your identity information available through Blockchain technology has many benefits all based on convenience. It simplifies the check-in process by only requiring one piece of information for retrieving your flight information. It also makes the customs process much simpler for the same reason. After inputting your identification, they will be able to verify all of your identity, travel history, visas, etc.
Blockchain technology will streamline airports to get travelers on flights faster, essentially saving time and money for both parties.
Another benefit to Blockchain technology is airline efficiency. Many airlines want to ensure their profits by overbooking the flight in case of cancelled or missed reservations. This of course helps the airlines but many times, passengers are forced to rearrange their plans and put on alternative flights to accommodate overbooking. The Blockchain has capabilities to regulate this situation. As the flight has a set number of seats, the boarding passes sold would reflect this exact number. Since you cannot change the Blockchain once it is set, the plane seats cannot be overbooked.
Each seat is essentially linked to one identity. In case of emergencies or accidents, passengers can easily be identified just by noting the seat assignments.
Challenges to implementation
Blockchain technology already exists and applications for maintaining your identity are already available. There are practical reasons why is hasn’t been used across the travel industry yet. Implementing technology like this will require a lot of changes to the current travel system.
Every party involved will have to migrate their databases which currently house your information into the blockchain system. This includes everyone from government organizations to credit card companies to airline booking services. This is the only way to have one unique ID pin to verify all of this information. The migration process will change the respective industries in themselves.
Another major issue is regarding security. Blockchain technology is still relatively new. The mass public is still not aware as to how such technology works. Questions could easily arise as to the safety of having all of this information linked to one item. If your unique ID pin gets compromised, that could be a major issue as all of your information would be accessible.
It’s important to note that Blockchain technology is in continuous development. There are a lot of industries that can benefit from the Blockchain including the travel industry. Technology has always shifted the travel industry and this technology can be the next major change. We are all looking for a more pleasant travel experience. Blockchain technology could be just the thing to provide that to the world.