Support Skift’s Independent JournalismMake a Contribution Now
One technology provider intends to boost inflight Wi-Fi usage with the launch of a new mobile app that makes it easier for passengers to get connected while onboard. It also wants to encourage passengers to try the Wi-Fi service available from their airline by using beacons at the airport and on the plane.
As Francois Rodriguez, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of SITA OnAir explains: “Two of the main friction points [of in-flight connectivity] have been that the portals themselves have not been sufficiently user-friendly and that passengers simply haven’t realized Wi-Fi is available.”
With its new inflight Wi-Fi application, and a mobile-centric platform, SITA OnAir hopes to make it easier for passengers to give in-flight connectivity a try. Because, as the company reports, over 80% of passengers have a smartphone its new portal is specifically designed for use on mobiles.
While competitor Gogo already offers a mobile app to help passengers connect, the difference is that the SITA OnAir app can be fully customized to fit each airline’s brand and Wi-Fi service offerings. It can even integrated directly into the airline’s app as a menu option.
“We help each airline tailor the right complimentary information to provide to suit their passengers’ requirements,” says 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.”
As an incentive for adoption of the service, SITA OnAir will also help airlines encourage inflight Wi-Fi usage by exploiting beacons at the airport and onboard the aircraft. Beacons at the gate can push messages through the airline’s app to passengers’ phones, letting them know that Wi-Fi is available on their flight. Beacons on the
aircraft can be used to remind passengers when they can start using the Wi-Fi service onboard.
Rodriguez argues that beacons are already installed at airports and will be used to promote other retail and airport/airline services. Using them to promote Wi-Fi, SITA OnAir believes, is a natural add-on.