SITA OnAir, an airline communications and IT company, has unveiled a new inflight Wi-Fi app designed to work horizontally with different airline apps. The company plans to engage users of its app with contextual mobile engagements at the gate, encouraging Wi-Fi usage onboard.
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.
While contextual mobile at the gate seems to make natural sense, and has been tested in various airports over the past year, it remains to be seen how impactful beacons on an aircraft will prove to be. Generally, flight attendants make an announcement that passengers can now use their Wi-Fi devices — so a beacon-enabled push message could be overkill. And apps that oversaturate with beacon messaging can risk a 313% decrease in usage over the next 30 days — indicating app deletion.