Innovation That Matters

Smart gates track passenger location to avoid flight delays

Travel & Tourism

London's Heathrow Airport has introduced a new system that lets flight attendants know if someone isn't going to make their plane.

While travelers have been able to make sure they know the whereabouts of their luggage with innovations such as the hop! trackable suitcase, it’s much harder for airlines to know exactly where their passengers are when it comes time to board. In order to curb delays to flights when customers haven’t turned up on time, London’s Heathrow Airport has introduced a new system that lets flight attendants know if someone isn’t going to make their plane.

Installed in Terminals 1 and 3 at the major airport, the system involves gates that are placed at different points between the entrance and the final boarding gate. As customers progress through the different stages of boarding their flight – from check-in and baggage checks, to passing through security and entering the departure lounge – gates similar to those found in train stations require passengers to scan their boarding pass. When they do so, small screens offer instructions depending on the time left before the flight is due to depart and their location in the airport. For example, if they’re in the wrong terminal they’ll be offered directions to the correct one, and if their flight is due to board they’ll be told to go straight through to their gate. However, if they won’t have enough time to board they’ll be instructed to seek assistance and attendants will be alerted and can start unloading their bags from the plane.

The system gives more information to customers to help them get to the right place, while airlines benefit from avoiding delays that can occur when a passenger goes missing. Could this work in your part of the world?

Spotted by: Murray Orange



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