The pace of technological change is accelerating. Over the last few years, the travel experience has become more efficient thanks to the power of new technologies such as mobile internet, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data, the internet of things and biometrics. But we are only scratching the surface of their potential to make air travel simpler. Here are a few emerging concepts and technologies that will continue to transform the passenger journey.

1. Biometric technology

A rapid and seamless journey through the airport terminal could soon be a reality thanks to biometric technology. Under the International Air Transport Association's “One ID concept, a match is made between a unique biometric characteristic — such as facial recognition — and a passenger’s passport. This would allow passengers to proceed with ease through the terminal checkpoints without having to present travel documents on multiple occasions. A growing number of airports are already deploying biometric processes to speed up processing and improve the passenger experience.

2. Baggage tracking

In 2018, an international resolution came into effect (IATA Resolution 753) that will help pave the way for real-time tracking of baggage, similar to how you might track a parcel. Over the next few years, the introduction of RFID bag tags will further improve baggage tracking and reduce lost and misplaced baggage.

3. Artificial intelligence

AI is already being embraced by the industry to improve the passenger experience. For example, more airlines and airports are using chat-bots with AI technology to communicate effectively with passengers, handle simple queries or assist with travel disruptions. AI could also allow access to a personal travel assistant on your wearable or mobile device that is able to predict your travel choices, knows your preferences and can create a personal experience for you.

4. New retailing

Shopping for flights using a travel agent or online travel site can leave you wondering what the differences are between different airlines’ products and services. The industry is working hard to change that by introducing a new data standard for communications between airlines and travel agents, both online and brick-and-mortar. This new distribution capability will transform the way you shop for airline products and services. On the passenger side, the not-too-distant future shopping experience could include product descriptions as well as videos, and even virtual reality to easily compare aircraft seats and other airline offerings. This will improve transparency and allow you to personalize your journey.