Aer Lingus developing mobile check-in with SMS provider

Aer Lingus jetAer Lingus is developing mobile check-in with Oxygen8 Communication, the provider of its existing SMS information service.

The move is part the ongoing development of the Irish carrier’s SMS offering, which it said came into its own during recent travel crises such as the ash cloud airspace closures in April 2010.

The system has already been developed to provide opt-in customers with full itinerary details, and information systems manager John Collins said other uses are now being investigated.

“We’re also looking to use the Oxygen8 gateway as part of mobile check-in, enabling passengers to view their boarding passes on their phones,” he said. 

“This will be a key step in moving from tactical use of SMS to knitting it into the core operations of the airline. Because the service has been proven to be extremely reliable, we find we’re thinking up innovative new uses for it. It’s become just like email – we take it for granted.”

The SMS gateway is plugged into the airline’s booking engine, allowing Aer Lingus to contact customers at short notice and to monitor message receipt.

Collins said: “The decision to use Oxygen8 stemmed from a need to be able to contact passengers in transit. A text-based service meant that we could reach opt-in passengers for a particular flight instantly, yet at very low cost.”

Aer Lingus used Oxygen8 to issue over half a million text messages during the 2010 ash cloud UK airspace closures. Usually the airline issues 40,000 messages a month.

The system, which has been in use since 2007, is also used internally to communicate service updates to pilots and crew.

Last year Aer Lingus carried 9.3 million passengers on over 100 routes, covering 75 destinations in 22 countries across Europe and the US. Its website accounted for 85% of ticket sales.

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