Airline customers with advanced smartphones will soon be able to streamline their flying experience with mobile access. Virgin Blue Airlines will be launching a check-in process for mobile phone users called "check mate". Virgin Blue customers will be able to access the website mobile.virginblue.com.au on their mobiles and make flight bookings, changes and cancellations. The airline has also launched a Virgin Blue application for Blackberry devices.
Initially the technology will only be available to Virgin Blue customers on direct flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Through the site customers can complete almost their entire flying process easily and quickly. Passengers can check in, make seat selections, and even acquire a 2D bar-coded boarding pass right on their mobile. A company spokesman stated that "Being at the forefront of technological advancements is critical to the Virgin Blue strategy of providing our guests, especially those who are time poor, with the latest innovations to make their travel experience streamlined and speedy".
Virgin Blue passengers now have the flexibility to book a flight when they are on the go, check themselves in on the way to the airport, and go right to security with a boarding pass in hand, speeding up their movement through the airport.
The move from Virgin Blue comes hot on the heels of airline giant Qantas launching a similar program for their customers. Qantas launched its Next Generation Check-In Initiative which offers many of the features that Virgin Blue included in its services. Passengers can check in via their mobile and a 2D bar-coded boarding pass is then sent to them in a text message. Gate agents will then scan the barcode shown on the mobile device and a receipt containing seating assignments is then printed. Frequent fliers using Qantas' application can check arrival and departure times, access Qantas Club locations worldwide and find contact numbers for Qantas offices.