WTM08 – British Airways claims strong uptake for mobile check-in

Over 3,000 leisure travellers have used British Airways‘ recently launched mobile phone check-in and seat selection service, according to the airline’s innovation and planning manager Chris Carmichael.

Speaking at a session at World Travel Market, Carmichael said that the service, which launched last week, had already attracted over 3,000 unique users “without much advertising, and we’re expecting quite quick growth on this figure”.

Leisure travellers with families are using the service to check-in 24 hours in advance and ensure that they sit together.

By making the function mobile-compatible, seats can be reserved without the person needing to have access to a PC.

Carmichael referred to Kelsey Group stats from the US which found that 18.9% of US mobile phones use a smart phone, and that this will increase to 50% within two years. Closer to home, he pointed out that “everyone in the room” already has a mobile phone.

However, mobile as a transactional channel is still some way away. Carmichael said that BA’s call centres were the channel by which customers could book using their mobile,  rather than key in credit card details into their handset. “Eventually you’ll be able to change existing bookings using a mobile, but we’re not currently looking at direct bookings from phones.”

Carmichael was joined on stage by Pablo Alvarez, group innovation manager for lastminute.com. He shared Carmichael’s concerns about mobile as a payment platform, suggesting that “there are services other than transactions that mobile is good for”.

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