Air New Zealand issues 100,000 smart stickers to frequent flyers

The airline has provided each of its most frequent domestic travellers with contactless stickers from OTI that can be attached to the back of their mobile phone and act as a permanent and reusable boarding pass.

Air New Zealand, New Zealand’s national airline, has issued smart stickers from On Track Innovations (OTI) to all its most frequent flyers as part of a major improvement in its check-in processes at Auckland airport.

SMART STICKER: Air New Zealand is issuing contactless stickers to frequent flyers
SMART STICKER: Air New Zealand is issuing contactless stickers to frequent flyers

The changes include a new state-of-the-art check-in and boarding experience, introducing a new layout and design, new kiosks that enable customers to print their own bag tags, a ‘direct to conveyor belt’ bag drop zone to eliminate queues, new gate scanners for ‘straight to gate’ check-in and boarding for customers without bags and several new technological enablers for frequent flyers.

The OTI Smart Stickers are being issued to Air New Zealand’s 100,000 most frequent domestic travellers. They can attach the sticker to the back of their mobile phone and use it as a permanent boarding pass — frequent flyers then simply present their mobile phone to specially equipped kiosks or gate scanners, and their information is immediately retrieved, making the boarding process entirely paperless.

BOARDING PASS: The system uses contactless 'smart stickers' attached to passengers' mobile phones
BOARDING PASS: The system uses contactless 'smart stickers' attached to passengers' mobile phones

Stickers like this are seen widely as a way to get consumers used to the idea of using their mobile phone for transactions and other advanced operations without the need for them to buy an NFC-enabled mobile phone. Will the Air New Zealand stickers be used for other functionality? “For the time being, the Air New Zealand program will not be utilizing the sticker’s payment capabilities,” says the official press release rather cryptically.

“The smart sticker is one of the more exciting contactless products OTI has developed,” says Oded Bashan, the firm’s CEO and chairman. “By simply adding a contactless sticker to a mobile device, we provide the device with more capabilities, and the issuer with more ways to communicate with their customers and add to their product offering. Air New Zealand took it a step further by offering a unique product to its customers and providing them with a superior user experience in the boarding process.”

Air New Zealand’s Bruce Parton explained that “We challenged ourselves 12 months ago to create and deliver a new experience that would allow our customers to move quickly and seamlessly through domestic airports. Our goal was to get rid of frustrating queues, cut customer waiting time and make checking in and boarding as quick and easy as possible.”

Auckland is the first domestic airport to get the makeover, to be followed by Christchurch and then Wellington, says Air New Zealand:

New kiosks will be progressively introduced to other larger domestic airports over coming months, and gate scanners allowing customers to scan their boarding passes will be in place at all 26 domestic terminals used by Air New Zealand from 3 November. In total, 112 new kiosks and 84 gate scanners will be introduced.

Mr Parton says the airline has invested more than $30 million in the new airport experience, which is just one of a large number of changes being made to benefit domestic travellers.

“We expect the changes to be very appealing, particularly to business travellers. Those who aren’t carrying baggage will be able to go directly to the gate and self-board, and those with baggage won’t waste any time standing in queues,” he says.

Mr Parton says some of the most exciting initiatives make use of popular technologies to streamline the boarding process.

There will be a number of new and improved options available to customers, including email, mobile phone or a permanent unique RFID identifier.

  • myBoarding Pass — passengers choosing their seats online will receive a boarding pass by email featuring new 2D barcode technology in addition to their e-ticket, which can be used to confirm their seat at the kiosk or directly at the gate
  • mPass — a boarding pass including a 2D barcode that is sent to a mobile phone and can be scanned at the kiosk or gate;
  • ePass — Gold Elite, Gold and Silver Airpoints members, as well as Koru members, will be provided with this RFID tag ePass to attach to the back of their mobile phone. This can be scanned at the kiosk or the gate and used as a boarding pass.

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