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  What will the airport of the future be like?


OK, you are sick and tired of long waits to get your bags after a flight and long wait-times at check-in lines sometimes have you dreaming about other airlines, but airports of the future hold a lot of promise.


In the next decade – we’re talking circa 2020 – many airports could be deploying Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which means you can swipe your NFC-capable smartphone or tablet computer across an NFC reader and you’ll be checked into your flight.


Just like that. It’s called one-touch check-in.


Another techie innovation on the horizon is permanent baggage tags using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.


When your bag goes missing or if there are a lot of flight delays and cancellations, airlines and airports would be able to use RFID to track your bags throughout the airport or on board aircraft. The permanent baggage tags would give off a lot of information about you, including your contact details and frequent flyer status.


This crystal ball about the airport of the future comes from a new report, Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow, which was authored by Norm Rose of Travel Tech Consulting. It also uses data from an Amadeus study conducted by JD Power.


Among its findings, the report says baggage handling improvements are high on the wish lists of 34% of travelers.


And nearly 40% of travelers are looking to use services that would deliver real-time information about their flights and bags to their mobile devices, the study found.


There’s also a data point about customer loyalty: Passengers who had to wait for more than 30 minutes to check-in indicated that their view of the airline plummeted by 10%, according to the survey.


Rose, the report author, believes the results indicate that airlines and airports need to invest in more technology to automate currently manual tasks at the airport.


“Even simple advances such as verifying that a passenger’s baggage is on board the aircraft can greatly help to minimize frustration and uncertainty,” Rose says.

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