How virtual queuing can transform the travel experience for airline passengers
There aren’t many industries that have been affected by COVID-19 as much as air travel.
Throughout the pandemic, passengers have had to endure uncomfortably long queues as airlines have struggled to adapt to the sudden demands of strict social distancing protocols.
Since COVID regulations are here to stay for the foreseeable future, it’s clear the air travel industry needs a better way of handling long lines if they don’t want a repeat of the “inhumane” seven-hour queues seen at Heathrow.
And with customers worrying about how to manage travel anxiety during their return to international travel, it’s the perfect opportunity for airlines to set themselves apart from their competition by eliminating queues altogether by streamlining the experience or checking in and boarding a flight.
Which is where queue management comes in.
Here are a few ways virtual queuing could transform the travel experience for airline passengers.
So long to long lines?
The last thing anyone wants to see when they arrive at the airport is a long line leading up to the check-in desk.
Having to step straight into a queue is a sorry start to the customer experience for passengers.
Plus, “the perception of the time spent waiting is a better predictor of satisfaction than the actual waiting time”, according to research. And does anything make time drag like having to stand in a seemingly never-ending line?
Being stuck in a long line with nothing to do but dwell on takeoff definitely doesn’t help passengers with travel anxiety, either.
This is only compounded by the ‘Chameleon effect’: that “one’s behavior passively and unintentionally changes to match that of others in one’s current social environment”.
Particularly anxious flyers are likely to feed off each other’s energy if they're stuck in a queue with one another. And if stress is running high, even the most relaxed passenger can begin to panic, worsening the customer experience for everyone.
A queue management system empowers customers to pre-book a personal arrival time and then check-in with the scan of their boarding pass or mobile device when they arrive.
They’ll then receive a mobile notification telling them exactly which check-in desk to go to when it’s their turn to see a customer service agent – no queuing needed.
By eliminating long lines, airlines can drastically improve the customer experience and leave passengers of other airlines eyeing their customers enviously while they wait an age in an uncomfortable line.
Waiting in comfort
Once they’ve joined a virtual queue, there’s no need for customers to wait in a physical location.
This frees customers up to enjoy the facilities and simply wait for a notification on their mobile device when it’s their turn to be served at a desk.
Airlines can even create luxury waiting rooms with ample seating, where customers can relax in comfort until they’re called up.
This also reduces perceived wait times, as the constant stream of passengers going up to the check-in desk will give those waiting a visual indication of how quickly the queue is going down that they don’t get at the back of a long line.
First-class customer service
Airlines can keep their customers fully informed with real-time notifications on wait times and any delays to their flight through mobile notifications, SMS messages, and digital signage software.
Q-Anywhere also allows airports to provide remote customer service through a mobile app which reduces wait times for customer services while alleviating the burden on on-site staff.
This means customers can wait in different queues at the same time, balancing the burden across all departments.
And remote and on-site customer agents can collaborate seamlessly through the platform to make sure passengers are always fast-tracked to the service they require.
Make sure priority customers get the VIP treatment
A virtual queuing system also allows airlines to prioritize passengers based on customer status and flight history. If an airline’s customer’s last flight was delayed, they can make sure they get the VIP treatment this time around to regain their trust and retain their loyalty.
This provides a smooth customer experience to airlines’ highest value customers and helps ensure they choose to fly with them again.
The future of air travel?
Virtual queuing has the power to transform the travel experience for airline passengers.
And in the post-pandemic world, it could be an essential tool in smooth transition into providing safe air travel that maintains a seamless customer experience.
Next time most passengers set foot in an airport, long lines could be a thing of the past as airlines leverage queue management systems to allow their customers to wait for their flight at their leisure rather than in an uncomfortable queue.