Catching a Flight? You’re Being Tracked!

airport_gps_trackingAs the holidays approach, you may be looking into boarding a plane to meet up with friends or family members. But, did you know that airports track your smartphone data? Just like retailers, certain airports are tapping into what you’re doing on your phone if you use airport WiFi.

Why Airports Want Your Cell Data

Airports track WiFi and Bluetooth signals as people pass through terminals and gates. Why? It all has to do with customer service. What airport officials are looking for are patterns in the way that people travel, and how efficient certain parts of an airport are.

For example: if one airport that you frequently pass through has a really long wait at a certain security check, this data can be collected and used to better that security check (hopefully making it faster). Problems with hold ups and issues with customer service are things that airports look for too. But, there’s more to this tracking.

Where Your Dollars Are Spent

Airports want to know how you spend your money when you are visiting airport shops. If you buy, say, an overpriced flight pillow for $40, this is valuable information for the airport you purchased that pillow at. Why? That store will stock more pillows, of course!

It’s not entirely bad, though. Sure, airports are tracking what you buy and where you go, but some airports are now offering passengers certain discount codes and coupons via smartphone. So, you may just wind up with a cheaper in-flight pillow or some other gadget that you had to have while waiting for your flight. How do airports track your movements? With GPS software, of course.

Your Phone and GPS

Your smartphone is equipped with GPS tracker technology, and that’s how airport operators can see where you move and how long it takes you to get through various parts of an airport. In some ways, this tech will ensure a faster airport experience. In other ways, GPS tracking helps airports make passenger life simpler. So, you see, it’s all good!

You can use a GPS tracker to track nearly anything. From your luggage (yes, we have trackers that you can tuck inside of your suitcase!) to kids that may get lost in an airport, this innovative technology can do it all. While it may seem creepy knowing that someone is tracking your every move, it’s also a way for airports to make passenger life easier.

What do you think? Should airports use GPS tracking to find out what passengers buy and where they go? Or, is this a complete and total invasion of privacy that should be noted upon entry to an airport?


Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee via Flickr Creative Commons