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Heathrow Airport trials new biometric departure technology



Compare Car HireHeathrow passengers are the first in the world to use an revolutionary technology as component of the airport’s drive to further enhance the passenger experience. Terminal 1 passengers are being asked to participate in a 2 month ‘self-boarding’ trial in collaboration with South African Airways, which makes use of biometric data to help them board their flights quicker and more efficiently.

Once passengers arrive at the ‘self-boarding’ gate, they pass through an automatic electronic barrier which takes an infrared scan of their face. This data is verified against the biometric data that was taken at the check-in stage. When the 2 sets of data scans are successfully met, the barrier opens and the passenger can pass through and board their flight. The technology means that a passenger’s identification only needs to be checked by airline staff once during the whole departure process, minimising the amount of time it takes for passengers to reach their seats in readiness for departure.

The technology also enables airline personnel to invest more time with those passengers who need more assistance. The personal data is stored securely and will be deleted at the end of the trial.

Heathrow’s Terminal 1 Director Ian Hanson said: “We are working in partnership with our airlines to trial this technology which should help make our passengers’ journeys smoother and simpler. Since its introduction we have had positive feedback from both airlines and passengers.’

To date over 300 South African Airways passengers have elected to use the technology as part of their departure passage.

New technologies are already being used by passengers in the course of the departure process, from checking in via mobile phones, ‘self-service bag drops’ to automated ticket presentation prior to passenger security. Introduced in November 2012, the self service bag drop permits passengers to produce and attach their own bag tags before putting their luggage onto the automated bag drop facility.

Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in Europe and the 3rd largest in the world in terms of passenger numbers. Car Hire Assistant provides a car rental price comparison service for travellers to and from Heathrow airport.

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South Africa boosted by exposure to UK travellers


South African Airways Extreme Fares campaign has seen exceptional 2013 figures for the airline in the UK, with income up 70 per cent year-on-year across some channels. The unprecedented improvement in January bookings comes after the recent launch of South African Airways’ focused winter adventure travel marketing campaign.

This witnessed the airline partner with adventurer Charley Boorman for his 4 part TV series Charley Boorman’s South African Adventure, which was broadcast on Channel 5 and exhibited South Africa’s ultimate experiences throughout January. The country was also in the limelight last month on the BBC as a consequence of David Attenborough’s ‘Africa’ show. Both shows generated interest which SAA were able to expolit.

Jon Danks head of UK&I marketing & communications, SAA said: “The integrated campaign ran across key digital, print, and social media channels, anchored to the range of adventures showcased in both shows.

“Our tie up with Charley and Channel 5 presented a cost effective broadcast solution alongside great support from partners such as Lonely Planet and tourist boards from across Southern Africa.”

UK January progress is even more remarkable given that in January last year the airline flew direct to both Johannesburg and Cape Town, since which it has dropped the direct service to Cape Town to focus on its network. The new campaign focused on the wide range of destinations across Southern Africa accessible via SAA’s Johannesburg hub.

The TV show has been hailed a success by broadcaster Channel 5 with nearly 4 million people in the UK watching, in turn engaging with SAA’s brand.

 

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