Looking at this issue’s cover, you may be wondering what Netflix, Google, Facebook and Visa are doing on there. Amid all the coverage of the technical aspects of airplane computing and data transmission that we all love throughout this issue, we thought it important to highlight some of the companies that increasingly are becoming crucial to aviation connectivity as well as the future possibilities for improvements to the commercial air travel experience that a lot of us might dread.
Across commercial aviation, end users are investing more in new technologies. For example, Brazilian carrier Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes in June unveiled the industry’s first process for passenger check-in by capturing facial biometry on a mobile app. At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Delta Air Lines is testing the use of facial-recognition technology for self-check-in kiosks. Silicon Valley-based private jet service provider XOJET is using Noodle.ai, an “artificial intelligence as a service” provider to help improve seat/dynamic pricing, fleet maintenance, flight location optimization and customer experience.
These improvements in the overall process of air travel are needed, especially if the U.S. population of air travelers is reflective of the rest of the world. The first six months of 2017 saw the U.S. Transportation Dept. receive a total of 9,026 consumer complaints about airline service, a 7.8% increase compared to the same period in 2016.
The happiness of air travelers and propensity for more and new individuals to travel by airplane can have a major impact on avionics manufacturers and their suppliers. Happier travelers mean more travelers, which mean more revenue for operators and more opportunity to invest in upgrading the communications, navigation and surveillance aspects of their operations. It will be interesting to monitor how companies like Google and Visa can continue to improve the air travel experience on board and at the airport in the future. AVS