Mobile Check In Is Still The Minority Choice For Flyers

Mobile Check In Is Still The Minority Choice For Flyers

By global standards, Australia has a good range of mobile check-in options for when you fly, with offerings from Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar. However, an analysis of passenger behaviour by travel technology provider Amadeus suggests that it’s not yet a widely-used choice, with less than one in 20 customers taking advantage of mobile check-in across the globe.

Amadeus’ findings were part of a study involving surveying 3,000 customers and interviewing nine major airlines about future trends in mobile travel technology. (Amadeus doesn’t name the airlines involved, but its commentary in the report mentions a first-tier Australian carrier which is offering automated bag tags, which is hard to interpret as anyone other than Qantas.)

According to the study, just 3.4% of customers worldwide use mobile check-in, with an additional 0.8% using SMS. That figure is higher in Asia at 7.5% and 4.5% respectively, but that still means the vast majority of travellers aren’t taking advantage. That said, online check-in now outstrips actually checking in at the airport (though Latin America is lagging a little in that respect).

The shift to offering lower-tech options such as SMS check-in, and the threat of charging passengers who don’t automate the process to some degree, might see those numbers rise in the future, but I’m still struck with how low they are right now.



  • I tried SMS check in with Jetstar for the first time 2 weeks ago. At the airport gate they made an announcement that everyone checked in by SMS please come to the gate. Staff then proceeded to print boarding passes for everyone. I won’t bother with that again and will just print my own pass at home.

  • I’d love to use SMS check-in, but I had the same experience as Brian. Also, you have an odd definition of “good range.” Have you ever tried flying out of Melbourne on Jetstar or Virgin? They don’t have it. Virgin don’t have it at Sydney either.

  • I have to say, the only reason I don’t check in via mobile is because I can’t choose my seat. It automatically assigns my seat when checking in on mobile, where I prefer to evaluate my options. Maybe I want to sit further back in the plane because I won’t have somebody sitting next to me, etc etc etc.

    Until I can choose my seat on mobile (OR, check in on the main site and then get my boarding pass via the mobile site (which currently says ‘You are already checked in’)) I’ll continue to use the desktop+print option.

  • Westjet in Canada has seat selection on mobile check in, so i cant see why JQ,QF and VA don’t have it. What I want are the automated boarding gates a la Air Canada in montreal and toronto and KLM in AMS. That would speed up the process a lot more and while we are at it, why don’t we removed departure customs? If Europe, Canada, America, Japan (from memory don’t quote me on that) and quite a few more developed countries can find a system to do it why cant we?

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