4 Ways You Can Empower the Crew of Your Airline: Technology to Improve Onboard Customer Experience and Efficiency
By Darla Phanklong
Technology when used appropriately is an important part of modern airline’s strategy to improve onboard service and experience because it allows a more personalized experience for customers and greater in-flight efficiency. Here are 4 main ways airlines around the world are using technology.
1. In-flight usage of customer data to give a personal touch that customers remember
The advantages of having all customer data on an app that the attendants can view is that it offers the opportunity to tailor the treatment and response to certain customers, such as regular business travelers, or those recently affected by delays. This personalization of the service by flight attendants is critical because they are the airlines employees that spend most time with the customers, and are most likely to be able to build great customer relationships as well as fix broken ones. Giving them the tools, they need to make sure that customers are recognized for loyalty, or apologized to for any previous mistakes, is therefore invaluable.
This use of technology is working in practice - data gained from the Delta airlines trial of such an app via feedback from their medallion holders show that passengers highly value being recognized on board, with less than a percent of passengers out of 75 flights disliking it.
2. Empowering staff with paperless information systems that make their jobs easier
Many big airlines including the German giant Lufthansa are showing the benefits of equipping staff with appropriate digital technology. By providing tablets for all staff loaded with their own app, staff can access information such as seating plans and passenger information that is live and up to date. For instance, data such as a customer’s preferred meal and drinks choice, onward travel plans and loyalty membership details could be displayed.
Similarly, the portal is used to check in on their own schedules, their service manuals and checks and other data necessary for their jobs, which means they spend less time on paperwork and more time looking after customers. Lufthansa staff have reported increased job satisfaction as a result.
It is also working for Philippine Airlines who are giving iPad to staff allowing them to handle all sorts of passenger interactions such as online shopping and customer feedback more efficiently.
Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista said: “As we work towards achieving our vision of becoming a full-service five star carrier, PAL is highly focused on the benefits that new and emerging technologies can bring.”
3. Using augmented reality to assist staff
In some more futuristic trials with Air New Zealand, augmented reality is being tested to make all the information collected about customers from the app and staff portal types of systems described accessible as a head-up-display for their staff wearing special glasses built by Microsoft. This technology is undoubtably controversial as we have seen from the introduction of the google glasses, but it is likely that because of the sheer usefulness of augmented reality, that we will start to see more technology like this being used by airlines in future. As air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan, explained: “This is a great example of exploring how technology could enhance the way our people work, as well as the experience they deliver to our customers through greater personalization.”
4. Inflight food pre-ordering application
Not only time saving for both passengers and crew but pre ordering food also helps save cost by decreasing food waste which is brought into the plane but not consumed. Many airlines let passengers pre order food of their choice at least 24 hours before boarding the plane through their website or application that helps to manage the booking process. There is a new application like Mobipax that offers an innovative service which let passengers pre order their meal up to 2 hours before boarding and check the flight status of many different airlines.
The food will be freshly prepared by the cooperated airlines and delivered directly into the airplane, not for too long before departure. This will cut down the problem of not having enough selection for passengers in the back seats and benefit the airlines to not have to load too much food and drinks that passengers don’t like. Also, cabin crew do not have to walk around and ask passengers “pork, beef or chicken” anymore since they know what seat number to serve the food they ordered.
This also works for low-cost airlines as well for in-flight delivery. The payment will be settled up front so there is no physical contact between the cabin crew and passengers, especially during these unprecedented times of Covid 19.
Darla Phanklong is a travel writer living in Chiangmai, Thailand. She is passionate about studying languages, talking to people from different places around the world, entrepreneurship and exploring new ideas for startup business. Interests include travel, reading and photography. She always likes to keep the balance in her work and her personal activities. Visit her on: 2poundticket
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