SINGAPORE - By the end of this year, travellers flying with budget carrier Scoot will be able to shop for duty-free items, play games and order food on their phones by just scanning a QR code.
This will reduce surface contact and physical interactions between cabin crew and passengers, the carrier said on Thursday (Nov 26).
The launch of the new mobile portal for use during flights is similar to what parent company Singapore Airlines (SIA) has done as both carriers seek to reassure customers that it is safe to take to the skies again amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scoot said the portal - named ScootHub - will allow it to resume some services that were suspended following the pandemic. This included the purchase of food and duty-free shopping during flights.
By next April, the portal will be upgraded to let passengers book tickets to attractions and other experiences.
Passengers do not have to purchase any Wi-Fi connection to use it.
Scoot chief executive Campbell Wilson said: "I think all of us in the travel industry have been a bit complacent and we have made the customer go through a lot of unnecessary touchpoints.
"This is a good opportunity for us all to try to make the process smoother."
Scoot will also tap on the portal to generate advertising revenue.
Mr Wilson, who was speaking at a media event at Changi Airport Terminal 1, also addressed several questions about the future of the airline and air travel.
He said Scoot had gone "through the worst" of the pandemic and had gradually restored its network.
"We think that the future world, at least in the medium term, is conducive to low-cost carriers," he said, citing factors such as the expected faster recovery of the leisure travel and travellers' preference for lower fares.
He also said that Scoot would not push for a policy in which only travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 are allowed on its planes. He was responding to a question on a proposal by Australian carrier Qantas.
Mr Wilson also said some changes prompted by the pandemic - such as the increased use of technology to reduce touchpoints - would be the new normal even after widespread vaccination against Covid-19.
People's desire to travel, however, would not change, he noted.
"People's motivations for travel are deep and inherent and I think it is a function of human nature," he said.
"I think the appreciation of the ability to travel is going to be much improved... I have absolute confidence that we are not going to get back to where we were before but we will surpass it."