British Airways, Delta and others use data to customize the passenger experience.
If a flight attendant apologizes for your delayed flight last month, or is congratulating you personally for hitting a milestone, it may not be because you have flown with them before: instead, “big data” may be feeding them information about you. The Chicago Tribune reports airlines are using consumer data to personalize the flight experience for every flyer, as a play to improve passenger loyalty.
On Delta Air Lines, the Nokia Lumia devices flight attendants carry are not just used for processing transactions. When passengers use their frequent flyer numbers, employees get personalized information about each individual, from their current status to previous encounters with the airline. American Airlines offers similar knowledge on their flyers through company-issued Samsung Note tablets.
Through these customized applications, the airlines say their attendants are empowered to take on the customer experience and provide customized levels of service. This can be as simple as wishing a flyer “happy birthday” when they travel, to offering extra miles for a missing meal or other customer service missteps.
“We want to stay one step ahead of them,” Allison Ausband, senior vice president of in-flight service at Delta, told the Tribune. “By using our big data when things go wrong or when things are going great.”
While American and Delta are leading the legacy carriers in integrating technology, they are not alone in the global aviation industry. British Airways implemented iPads to improve the customer experience in 2011, while Singapore Airlines began using hand-held electronics to create “voyage reports” for flights in 2015.