A new text-messaging service with a twist has been launched to help airline passengers in the UK stay up to date with the expected 46 days of their adult life they will spend waiting in airports due to flight delays.
Spanning all major UK airports and airlines including British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair, the new StreamThru service is free of charge for consumers to join, and provides up to the minute information on whether their flight is on time using text messages sent directly to their mobile phone.
The launch of the service comes at a time when departures from UK airports have rocketed to some 180 million per year, with one in four air passengers facing flight delays at some point.
Serving ads with info
Of course every free service has to be paid for somehow, and this is no exception. Each text message sent to the consumer's mobile phone is accompanied by up to two small adverts or offers that are relevant to the airport they're flying from.
The service is therefore considered useful and relevant, even in its role as an advertising medium, as passengers can opt in to receive confirmation of their flight number and flight times on the day of travel, as well as information on boarding times, departure gates and whether their flight is delayed or not (and if so, by how long).
Flight delays all round?
An independent survey of 2,887 flight passengers, conducted to coincide with the launch, revealed that British adults now take an average of three flights per year, with delays encountered by the average passenger in everyday circumstances equating to 46 days over the average passenger's lifetime.
The longest most passengers have been delayed for is nearly 7 hours, although 5% of airline passengers said they had been kept waiting between 24 and 48 hours in the past. A more concerning 14% said they had completely missed a holiday due to delays, and 5% had missed an important business meeting.
The fact that delays are difficult to communicate to travellers before they arrive at the airport has resulted in 17% of passengers having to sleep in the departure lounge, 7% dealing with tired, hysterical children, and 5% having a run-in with check-in staff. But it's not just delays causing trouble, as unclear information while inside the airport has also led to 5% completely missing their flight.
Before take-off, UK travellers spend an average of 23 minutes shopping in Duty Free shops and 26 minutes in the bar. A surprising 17% also admitted to plane spotting to pass the time before flights.
Clearing up confusion
According to Mike Atherton, managing director of Mantic Point, the company behind StreamThru, said: "It's no surprise that today more than half of airline travellers say they actually expect there to be a problem with their flight."
A few hours before the scheduled departure time StreamThru sends an SMS message confirming flight details, and advising if the flight is likely to be on time or delayed. Approximately 30 minutes before departure the service then sends a reminder of flight details and boarding information.