APEX Insight: FLIO is aiming to be the only airport app passengers will ever need. Instead of having to download an app for every airport on a flight with multiple connections, FLIO will serve as an all-in-one solution, including one-touch access to any airport Wi-Fi network. So far, the FLIO app has collected the data of 850 airports and 150 Wi-Fi setups. “We do those tedious login forms on the backend for you, so you can just tap the screen and off you go,” says Andrew Watson, CIO and co-founder of FLIO.
While airline apps have enjoyed considerable success amongst the flying public, individual airport apps have not seen the same type of adoption. If you think about it, this isn’t that surprising. After all, when an airline passenger flies between city pairs via connection, he or she will pass through three different airports, sometimes even more. Does it make sense to download three airport apps for a single trip? Not really.
The creators of a new international airport app called FLIO [pronounced fly-oh] are hoping to change the way people feel about airports (commonly known to provide numerous pain points within a journey) and airport apps, while promoting new consumer behaviour and boosting revenues for the terminal.
“The idea we had was to create one app [to cover] every airport in the world,” explains Andrew Watson, a member of the Spotify founding team who is CIO and co-founder of FLIO (the other co-founder being Stephan Uhrenbacher, who also started platforms like Travel Channel and Qype and served as a senior executive for lastminute.com). “Within that we wanted to give users a consumer experience, but also help the on-site retailers and the airports by looking at how they can drive revenue. It really evolved form that.”
Passengers with FLIO benefit from a super-slick user experience and a number of handy features including departure and arrival time charts, informative content (both sourced and user-generated) full of tips and tricks for each airport, easy-to-redeem discount offers on a number of goods and services – and most importantly, a one-touch connection service to the official airport Wi-Fi.
“We pre-fill everything as you’re signing up for the app,” Watson says. “So when you get in range of the airport Wi-Fi signal, you’ll get a ‘connect now’ prompt. We do those tedious login forms on the backend for you, so you can just tap the screen and off you go. That’s really the killer feature. It saves travelers a lot of hassle.”
“We do those tedious [Wi-Fi] login forms on the backend for you, so you can just tap the screen and off you go.” – Andrew Watson, FLIO
So far, FLIO has logged more than 850 airports and about 150 different Wi-Fi setups into the app. Not all of the 850 airports currently offer an instant Wi-Fi connection, content, deals and flight information, but the team is working on it and they don’t appear to be daunted by the volume of work ahead of them.
“The next step is expanding as fast as possible into new markets,” says Watson, who reveals that so far the app is quite popular in the UK and gaining terrific traction elsewhere too. “What we have here is a truly global airport app, so we have to be in every market from day one. We’re going after more Wi-Fi providers, more airports and getting more retailers involved.”
New functions such as in-app mobile transactions, lounge booking and airport ‘fast track’ purchases could be added into FLIO in the near-term.