Can information technology smooth out the airport experience?

How are the world’s airports using IT – information technology – to improve the passenger experience?

According to the 9th annual SITA Airport IT Trends Survey published today, airports are using mobile apps, social media and intelligent technologies such as geolocation services to make it easier for passengers to get to and through airports.

One example: an increase in mobile and social media apps to keep passengers informed about their flight status and wait times.

The report found that 88% of the world’s airports plan to invest in these tools by the end of 2015 and that, as passenger numbers at airports continue to rise, “optimizing the use of the available real estate is a priority and passenger flow management will become more and more important.”

The IT solution to reducing congestion: geolocation.

According to the report, “Within the next three years, new way-finding services are set to become commonplace on mobile devices, allowing passengers to navigate easily through the airport. Just 10% of airports provide them today but this is set to jump to 70% by 2015.”

More self-service options are also on the horizon.

The report found that bag tag printing at airport kiosks has doubled from 2011 to 2012 and that 83% of airports intend to provide this option by 2015. 60% of airports plan to provide full self-service bag drop by then, according to the study.

The SITA survey results are based on responses from 91 airport operators, representing the views of 173 airports worldwide and were prepared in partnership with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business.