The future of payments is continually evolving as more innovative technology is introduced to the industry. The more technology makes our lives frictionless at multiple touchpoints, the more airline customers will expect to see these new innovations when bookinga flight.
Here are some to keep your eyes on as we enter 2024:
The South American market has seen the emergence of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) flight tickets through initiatives like TravelX. This concept empowers consumers to buy flight tickets as NFTs, allowing them to resell them and update the passenger information when they do, up to 72 hours before the scheduled flight departure. The airline receives the transaction fee with every resale, fostering a symbiotic relationship between the airline and the passenger. The convenience and flexibility offered by NFT tickets have the potential to reshape the ticketing landscape, marking it an exciting trend to observe as Flybondi becomes the first airline to implement it.
Apple Pay is gaining traction as one of the most popular payment methods in the world – and its interest is not slowing down. There are 2.3 billion mobile wallets in the world, 507 million of which are Apple Pay. With the rise of contactless payments and the increased focus on health and hygiene, Apple Pay offers a touchless payment option that aligns with the evolving travel landscape. With many travellers now using their mobile devices to research, book flights, and manage their travel, integrating Apple Pay supports this mobile-first behaviour, making it easy for passengers to complete transactions using their smartphones. Over the next year, we expect to see more airlines implementing Apple Pay also in the booking process and onboard aircraft.
With WiFi becoming the norm on many flights, especially long-haul flights, we are seeing more innovation on how customers can pay for goods while in the air, touch-free. Whether it’s by uploading your payment details to your online profile with an airline to allow instant chargeback to your seat number or by a QR (Quick Response) code, these types of innovations are expected to take off over the next year as filled flights look to speed up the onboard service with seamless payments.
On average, corporate airfares are expected to be about 9% higher than pre-pandemic prices. Despite almost 18% of corporate travel being replaced by virtual meetings and businesses being more conscious than ever of their carbon footprint, Morgan Stanley found that the the company’s travel expenditures are already back to pre-pandemic levels, which will continue to grow. As a result of a more flexible work culture, business executives are now taking advantage of more travel, combining it with leisure, as they realise they can effectively travel for longer periods while adding in a holiday. The rise of the ‘Bleisure traveller’ will encourage new spending habits, and airlines will need to navigate these as they arise, mainly as it refers to business loyalty programmes and corporate/leisure travel becoming mixed.