With the iPhone 5 announcement getting underway today, airlines are reportedly gearing up for the change and the passenger-friendly features that Apple’s forthcoming Passbook will offer.
The future of traveling for iPhone owners may lie in Passbook, a new native app that will arrive on iOS 6 that can recognize boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons from your mobile browser. Passbook users can save these documents to your Apple device for processing, and it will also reflect any changes to this content in real time. For example, if a flight time has been delayed, the ticket that you’ve saved on Passbook will be automatically updated with the new flight time and the user will be notified of the change. It will also notify you how much money is left on a gift card.
Given the age we live in and the incomparable reach of the iPhone, Passbook could end up digitizing a mass amount of consumers’ purchasing activity — and music to advertisers ears will be the fact that the app will recommend new purchases. Really, there’s plenty here that should lead us to assume that Passbook is an early version of Apple’s iOS wallet.
One thing is for certain: Traveling will be more convenient and efficient when the iOS 6 update is launched and given the handful of airlines that are already on board. So far there have been four airlines that have been reported to support or will support this feature. American Airlines’ spokesperson has so far been the only Airline to confirm that their systems have been integrated with Passbook, which should ease the boarding process from check-in to departure.
United Airlines’ branding has been identified in Apple’s Passbook product images, so it’s safe to say it’s also planning to launch integration.
Delta, while not officially confirmed, has been developing the infrastructure to support Passbook according to Skift.
Passbook has already been seen in action in Australia, integrated with Virgin Airline. According to Australian Business Traveler, Passbook reportedly prompted a passenger’s iPhone, with the beta version of iOS 6 installed, to check into his Virgin Australia flight when he opened up his boarding pass in his browser. Virgin Australia then subsequently confirmed that mobile boarding passes will work on Passbook on iOS 6.
With the multitude of features that Passbook will support and offer, it’s no surprise that airlines are adopting the technology so quickly. Saved tickets can be synchronized with Apple’s native calendar, reminder apps can send users flight notifications, users can skip the front desk and walk straight to the TSA for screening since Passbook automatically processes the boarding pass, and it uses geolocation to target deals or even prompt the user to open up Passbook when approaching the airport.
With Passbook there’s an entire ecosystem of features that airlines are capable of building off of — in fact, they already are.