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M-commerce app created by British Airways

20 July 2010 - 14:05 by Graham Miller

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British Airways (BA) has become the latest firm to exploit mobile phones as a platform for retail and convenience, with a new smartphone app allowing its domestic passengers to check in and board their flights without the need for paper tickets.

BA is offering the full service to its iPhone-owning Executive Club passengers, giving them the ability to display a barcode on-screen which airport staff can scan in order to confirm that user's seat on a flight. This will make the whole process of flying far less time consuming, although it is worth noting that some of BA's international competitors have already championed this technology elsewhere.

Although the ability to board using the app is only open to Executive Club passengers and is only in operation between Heathrow and Edinburgh for the first few months, any user will be able to download it to their mobile and can check out other information relating to BA's services, including flight times, details and travel news.

At present, the app doesn't offer users the facility to buy tickets directly from their mobile phones, instead encouraging them to look for safe shopping online for tickets via the official BA website. However, the ultimate goal of the airline is to develop its M-commerce platform to the point where mobile purchases will be possible.

BA's Chris Davis said that other smartphone platforms, including Android and BlackBerry, would also have support for the new app and that in the long term it will drive revenue with ticket sales, although its functionality will be limited until it is proven as a viable retail option.

Budget airline EasyJet has already confirmed that it will be entering the M-commerce market in order to stake its claim with a fast growing mobile audience.

It is clear that giving consumers the option to carry out safe shopping online via their mobile phones is enticing retailers and businesses of all sizes and backgrounds.