Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Akron-Canton Airport enhances the traveling experience via mobile boarding passes, deals

US Airways, Delta and United travelers can now check-in to flights via mobile boarding passes at the Akron-Canton Airport. Travelers can also access special deals on food in the airport from its  mobile site.

Three out of the four airlines that fly through the airport will now provide mobile boarding passes. The passes can be used to check-in to the flight, go through the TSA security checkpoint and board a flight.

“It’s all airline-driven,” said Kristie Van Auken, senior vice president of Akron-Canton Airport, Green, OH. “The airlines bring in the technology. So US Airways really led the charge on this, and Delta and United followed.

“Three out of our four carriers have the technology to accept mobile boarding passes,” she said. “And Southwest will be able to process mobile boarding passes sometime in the near future as they integrate Airtran into their airline.

“So it really wasn’t a decision of the airport, it was the airlines. Although we really welcome it. We were hoping they would add the technology here. Customers love it. It’s just such a mobile world now, particularly in travel.”

Mobile Boarding Passes
Mobile boarding passes are not a new concept, but there are a number of airports that have yet to adopt the technology.

For example, Great Falls International Airport in Montana and Hilo International Airport in Hawaii do not currently accept mobile boarding passes, although they plan to roll them out in the near future, according to United Airways’ Web site.

United Airways plans to make boarding pass scanning available in all United States airports that it serves by the fall of 2013. The airline’s mobile boarding passes are also accepted in 40 international airports.

By offering mobile boarding passes, airports cut down on paper usage and make the traveling experience more convenient for travelers.

Without mobile boarding passes, travelers either have to print a ticket at home and try to find it in their bag when they hit TSA security, or they can wait in the lengthy check-in line to have an airport staff member print their boarding pass.

If a traveler chooses to use a mobile boarding pass, the airline will email the traveler with a link to access the boarding pass on a mobile site.

Mobile boarding passes allow travelers to cut back on time and avoid long check-in lines. Most travelers have their phones in their hands or close by, so it only takes a few seconds to grab them for scanning at security.

Another useful feature of mobile boarding passes is that they will update changes in seat information and departure gate as long as the mobile device is connected to Wi-Fi.

Mobile airport
Akron-Canton Airport is not only using mobile for boarding passes but also to boost the airport’s stores’ sales.

The airport offers special deals for food and beverage items through its mobile site.

Travelers can access the mobile site by scanning QR codes on print ads within the airport. Additionally, when a traveler logs into the airport’s free Wi-Fi, they will be directed to the airport’s homepage that features the offers.

The offers include deals such as a dollar off at a Cinnabon store, $5 footlongs at Subway and a free Arby’s combo meal upgrade.

“So many travelers, upwards of 80 percent of travelers are traveling with a smartphone now, so it’s such a high percentage of our customer base that we want to provide them any way to make their traveling experience more enjoyable,” Ms. Van Auken said. “Mobile technology plays into that.

“We’re just working on ways to enhance the experience,” she said. “To provide value so customers choose us again and again.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York