Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) is testing a new service allowing customers to book, cancel and modify SAS airline flights over mobile phones that incorporate WAP (wireless application protocol), the company announced on Friday.
"Some airlines use WAP technologies already, I think, but we are the first worldwide to do booking over WAP," SAS product manager Claes Kanold said.
The service will also allow for WAP access to SAS timetables, flight departure and arrival times for SAS aircraft, and details of a customer's frequent flier miles account.
The WAP SAS flight reservation service will be made public before April. The ability to check SAS timetables and flight information over WAP-enabled phones will roll out "in a few days," Kanold said.
Users will not be charged a fee for the service. "There are no extra charges beyond telecom charges," Kanold said.
SAS is developing the WAP service with L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. and Nokia, Kanold said.
The service is being tested with "major Norwegian and Scandinavian companies," though Kanold declined to name the specific companies involved.
During these trials, users are only able to book ticketless air travel by way of SAS Travel Pass (prepaid travel system) and SAS Travel Pass Corporate (corporate business travel with invoice-based payments), though any type of airline travel will be available for WAP booking by the time the service rolls out publically, Kanold said.
Farther out in the future, SAS expects to be able to contact customers on their WAP phones to alert them of delayed or cancelled flights. "Very soon we will do that by way of short messaging systems but WAP doesn't have a push technology right now. That most likely will change as the technology develops," Kanold said.
Kanold himself has also been testing the WAP service and said it is working smoothly. "I flew from Stockholm yesterday and made three flight changes from my phone because the weather was so lousy. It was very easy," Kanold said.