Lonely Planet Writer

Miami airport app acts as personal travel assistant

A new app will use Bluetooth beacons to guide passengers around Miami Airport while automatically updating departure times, gate changes, and even how long it will take to walk to the boarding area.

Miami airport is using Bluetooth to assist people around the airport.
Miami airport is using Bluetooth to assist people around the airport. Image by Kārlis Dambrāns / CC BY 2.0

The technology has been rolled out at the Florida airport as a “personal travel assistant”, which actually knows what flight you are on and where you are going. If there are delays – or a last minute gate change – the mobile app will keep you informed as well as offering advice on what else you can do with spare time. It shows passengers down to the metre where the nearest book shop or café is, or what other facilities, like Wi-Fi or toilets, are nearby.

Matthys Serfontein of technology company SITA, who are behind the project, said it used the Bluetooth beacons at Miami Airport to deliver what was the world’s “most technologically advanced airport app”. Emilio T González of Miami Airport explained: “Thanks to the installation of data beacons, our mobile app can now guide you from your driveway to the runway with personalised, user friendly instructions.” The airport said what made this project different from the dozens of other more general apps available was that this one actually recognises the passenger. It knows when you are flying and exactly where you are in the airport and is plugged into all of the airport’s other technology so updates are instantaneous.

The app also works for people arriving at the airport, giving information on baggage retrieval, and where and when luggage is expected to turn up. For those not fortunate to be jetting off to sunny Miami, there are other more general airport apps available, which could help guide you around wherever you happen to be travelling. Flio – as well as offering guides to 850 major airports – will also help get you hooked up to whatever free Wi-Fi is available. It saves personal details rather than having to fill out endless tedious web pages for each airport’s web service.

Other options for guiding you through airport terminals include GateGuru, which keeps tabs on all your flights, and JourneyCard, which gives real-time updates on delays and other key flight information.