Technology Meets Travel: Part 1 – Airports

I’ve decided to start a multi-part series focusing on how technology impacts travel. I’ll be looking at all kinds of technology related travel initiatives, travel tech companies and more.

In this edition, I’m taking a look at some ways airports are using technology to make travel more enjoyable (if that’s possible) and efficient for travelers.

B4 You Board


HMSHost, a company that specializes in airport hospitality, has introduced B4 You Board, an award-winning mobile app that will allow passengers to order meals and have them delivered to the gate. The app is now available at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in Terminal 2 in addition to the original locations at JFK Terminal 3; ORD Terminal 1 B North, 2 E/F Gates, 3 T3 Main Terminal; MSP Terminal 1 D/E/F gates; SMF Terminal B.

The app allows you to browse menus, order food and have it delivered to your gate. There’s also an option to pick-up meals as well. The app allows you to place an order, gives you options to customize the order (add or remove ingredients, choose cooking temperature, etc…) and use a credit card to pay for the meal.

B4 You Board was recognized by the National Restaurant Association as one of the three Most Significant Technological Innovations in the Restaurant Industry in 2012. The app is available for the iPhone and select Android phones and is free to download.

I will be in ORD this week and will test out the app there. I’ll write a report on how it went after the trip!


Fraport FRA App

Frankfurt Airport is now offering an app for iPhone and iPad (with an Android version to be released in late Fall) for visitors to FRA. The app was released August 8, 2012 and can be downloaded free of charge. The app allows travelers to get to know the airport, view detailed maps and current flight data. If you accept push notifications, you can automatically receive information about changes to flights. Frequent travelers can customize the app by creating personal lists with points of interest, and information about flight connections.

The app offers a “near me” function – great for finding restaurants, lounges, etc… I will certainly use this feature when I’m traveling through FRA. In the past four years, I’ve had at least one/two trips a year that require connections in FRA and I always have a hard time finding the Star Alliance Lounge closest to my gate – this app will fix that!

I’ll be in FRA in mid-October and will report back!


Tesco Virtual Grocery hits Gatwick

Tesco, a UK based grocery store, has introduced the UKs first interactive virtual grocery store in Gatwick’s North Terminal. The virtual store, shaped like refrigerators, will allow passengers to browse items, scan a barcode using their smartphone and adding the item to their virtual basket. They will be able to schedule home delivery and pay for their items.

The virtual grocery store is targeted at travelers who are tired of coming home to empty fridges. I often travel to the UK on business for multiple weeks at a time. I could see myself using this feature while waiting for my baggage and having items delivered to my hotel. There’s nothing worse than getting to a hotel – where I’ll be staying for two or three weeks – and having nothing in the room to eat or drink, especially when landing late at night!

This isn’t Tesco’s first entry into the virtual world. Last year Tesco launched the world’s first virtual grocery store in South Korea. The Korean store allows commuters to shop in subways, bus stops and other locations using their smartphones.


What other cool airport apps have you seen?

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