British Airways cabin crew could be powering up iPads on your next flight, in a new trial to see if the tablets can streamline and further improve the customer’s in-flight experience.
100 cabin crew are currently testing out the devices, which store customer information, including where passengers are seated, their Executive Club status and any special meal requests on the flight.
The iPads also replace the need for pen and paper, as cabin crew can refresh their tablets and retrieve an updated list of boarded passengers as the aircraft doors close. Traditionally, cabin crew are handed a paper list of passenger names.
The tablets will remove the need for handbooks, as crew will have access to timetables and safety manuals at the touch of a button.
The crew will also be able to log any customer issues with ground-based colleagues while airborne.
Bill Francis, British Airways’ head of in-flight customer experience, commented: “The iPad is already allowing us to offer a more personalised onboard service, but the possibilities for future development are endless.
“We’re receiving great feedback from cabin crew and customers already. It allows the crew to offer the thoughtful service they want to deliver and customers are treated as valued guests.”
BA says it hopes to hand out the iPads to senior cabin crew “in the coming months”.
Airlines have found other benefits for the iPad, including as a platform for in-flight entertainment. Qantas’s budget airline, Jetstar is rolling out i-Pads on its aircraft to replace normal seat-back video screens. The service will be offered to passengers for a fee.
While airports have started to embrace the use of iPads to improve their customer service offering.
Singapore’s Changi airport has created ‘Changi Experience Agent’ (CEA) roles. The specialist staff are roaming the terminals clutching iPads to help passengers with specific requests – from flight status updates and tracing lost baggage, to pointing out the location of departure gates and shops.