AoT app expanding: flight info, taxis, shopping and more

PHOTO: The AoT app will be expanding as tourism grows. (via Sawasdee by AoT)

Airports in Thailand are hard at work souping up their travel app in hopes of making it an essential super-app for the incoming flood of tourists. Their “Sawasdee by AoT” app currently provides flight and airport information for people landing at six AoT-run airports. But they plan to add a host of tourism services, to aid the predicted 90 million passengers expected to pass through those airports next year.

The app will be available in Thai, English, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Hindi, and Spanish. There is a Tourist Help section that can connect travellers to police in each of those languages except for Hindi and Spanish.

So far, 650,000 people have downloaded the app but the AoT is predicting that that number will jump next year up to 1.5 million. They believe that if they develop the super app, its usefulness will push it to four million downloads by 2024.

To make their app more feature-rich, they are going beyond the basic airport and flight information. Users can enter their itinerary and all aspects of their flight will be tracked for them. They’ll receive notifications if there are any changes in their flights, gates, or any important information at the airport they will be at.

The AoT app will also give useful information about how long current wait times are at immigration, security checkpoints, and check-in areas to allow travellers to be more prepared. Airport taxi booking will be incorporated into the app to help speed up the arrival process as well.

On top of all that, a digital wallet is being programmed for the AoT app. “Sawasdee Pay” will allow users to add credit or debit cards to the app and make easy digital payments to partner shops. They were not clear if this was for airport shopping or around Thailand during a tourist’s stay. Shopping through the app, which was developed with Krungthai Bank, will accrue AoT points for users that can be used with the app’s partners or for extra privileges and bonuses. Other prizes can be won using the app also.

Finally, users of the AoT app will be able to get discounted insurance provided by Muang Thai Life Assurance.

The app is being developed for the AoT by app maker Sky ICT as part of a 10-year, 8 billion baht contract to develop aviation platforms. Their chief commercial officer says that they’re ramping up the app with the expectation of 20 million international tourists entering Thailand in 2023. With the millions of people pouring in, and a healthy domestic tourism market, AoT has calculated about 90 million people could be passing through their airports, on par with the numbers before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Future plans in the contract, according to the Bankgok Post, includes a facial recognition system, a smart security system, a self-service check-in system, a ground handling system, and an e-gateway.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.