Near-field communication for airline travel

Accenture Technology Labs is working to take advantage of the potential of mobile phones in the airline industry.

Mobile phones enabled with near-field communication (NFC) can help make an airline traveler’s experience more enjoyable while reducing costs companies and enhancing security.

  • Booking: Upon booking, an electronic ticket can be downloaded securely to the phone via an NFC reader or over the air, and stored on the phone's chip.

  • Check-in: NFC readers within the airport can be used for immediate local check-in, triggering issue of the boarding pass and delivery to the phone over the air. Travelers can also perform a more classic mobile check-in and receive their boarding pass over the air.

  • Boarding: Unmanned boarding gates equipped with readers can automatically admit passengers with valid boarding passes on their phones in the aircraft.

  • Security: Unmanned security gates equipped with readers automatically admit passengers with valid boarding passes stored on their phones. In future, this step could be enriched with a biometric.

  • While these are more obvious uses of NFC-enabled phones, there are further innovations in development with the goal of:

  • Speeding up the entire process at the airport, reducing queues and enabling airports to increase airport capacity.

  • Reducing the need for printing boarding passes and reduce associated costs.

  • Enable direct contact with the traveler.

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