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Airports embracing connected tech

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If you’re a tech-savvy traveler, the future looks bright for you.

Some of the biggest airports in the world are planning to invest heavily in technology that will let you check in with a mobile device or on an electronic kiosk and board your plane without checking in with a gate agent, according to a new survey of airlines and airports that serve 2.4 billion passengers per year.

"This is the age of the connected traveler with nearly all passengers carrying mobiles, tablets and other devices," said Francesco Violante, chief executive of SITA, the tech company that did the survey.

Among the survey findings:

Nearly 90 percent of the airport operators surveyed said they plan to invest in kiosks, self-serve bag dropping stations and self-boarding stations in the next three years. In 2014, airports expect to spend $6.8 billion on technology.

Just over half of airlines surveyed can notify passengers via mobile devices about flight problems. That is expected to increase to 92 percent by 2017.

Fewer than 5 percent of passengers worldwide now check in with a mobile device, a rate that is expected to increase to 15 percent by 2017.

20% GROWTH IN AIRLINE FEES FORECAST

The world’s airlines are expected to collect $28.5 billion in passenger fees in 2014, a 20 percent increase over last year, according to a new study.

The increase is no surprise because the revenue airlines collect from bag fees and charges for food, entertainment and other onboard extras has more than doubled since 2010.

But Jay Sorensen, president of Idea­WorksCo., the Wisconsin firm that publishes the revenue estimate and advises airlines on ways to boost such income, warned now that most carriers are reporting steady profits thanks to declining fuel costs, airline executives can’t claim they need higher fees to survive.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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