31 August 2009
South African Airways (SAA) has become the first airline in Africa to launch a mobile portal that allows travellers to access comprehensive travel and airline information from one point of reference, anywhere, anytime, using their mobile phones.
The mobile portal allows travellers to access airline flight schedules, directions to airline lounges at airports around the world, flight arrival and departure information, destination information such as weather forecasts for any city in the world, and a currency converter.
The new initiative is in partnership with Star Alliance, the international airline network to which SAA belongs. Star Alliance developed the Common IT Mobile Platform which SAA used to launch its own portal for customers.
Single information source
The portal is a universal feed able to access information on any airline and destination in the world.
“It’s a single source of information for the traveller,” SAA chief information officer Mike Re said in a statement earlier this month.
“Forget about making unnecessary phone calls or logging on to countless websites to get the information you need while you are on the go. Anywhere, anytime, information about your travels is at your fingertips.”
Airline customers can also access World Tracer information, which tracks requests made about baggage, through the mobile portal. “This tool allows you track where your baggage request is with an airline and how close it is in the process to being resolved,” said Re.
The first phase of the initiative is not controlled by usernames and passwords – once you enter the address, the information needed is readily available with a few clicks and entries. And once you enter the site, the application automatically scales to the size of your handset.
“This convenient tool means no more clicking away to find the rest of the page not in your view because of the limited size of your cellphone screen,” said Re.
SAA plans to increase the functionality of the mobile portal with the launch of a secon, more interactive phase later this year. Customers will be able to request their frequent flyer mileage status, get notifications of irregular flight operations such as flight delays, and check flight itineraries.
In phase three, also scheduled to be introduced towards the end of the year, customers will be able to check-in for a flight and board a flight by scanning their cellphone at a boarding gate using 2D barcode technology to be implemented at airports.
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