Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was the same as so many other people at an airport… roaming the concourse, checking baggage, waiting in line at security, finding something to eat or browsing the shops – and occasionally jogging to the gate so as to not miss my flight.
It has been almost a year since this picture changed almost entirely. As the aviation industry strives to find ways to uphold the safety of its staff and customers, new technologies and innovative ideas are emerging that will help airports overcome the challenges associated with the pandemic.
A new passenger journey
The introduction of new health and safety requirements are bound to have a significant impact on a passenger’s journey through the airport. Between social distancing measures, health screenings, and heightened cleaning procedures, the risks of making this journey more stressful for travellers and staff must be considered.
To comply with new requirements and gain back the confidence of passengers, airports and airlines, technology providers are turning to touchless processes. For example, paperless identification, system automation, and self-service applications.
Addressing critical areas
While most frequent travellers are used to interacting with touchless technologies and self-service applications, such innovations haven’t yet made their way to one of the airport’s most critical areas – the security checkpoint.
Whether they have checked in a bag or not, or are travelling locally or internationally, all passengers must go through the security screening process. This usually means that airport checkpoints are high traffic areas where travellers and agents must interact at multiple touchpoints.
The first step of this process – divestment – is often stressful for passengers. Although frequent travellers understand this process and tend to move swiftly through the steps, less experienced passengers may need more time and guidance.
The divestment position can also be demanding for security agents, who have to guide up to five passengers simultaneously. Add a protective shield between the agent and the passengers, and their job is now even more difficult than before.