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WestJet Airlines

WestJet “Hackathon” Focuses on Premium Passenger Experience

WestJet “Hackathon” Focuses on Premium Passenger Experience
Joe Cortez

WestJet is bringing frequent flyers together with Silicon Valley’s tech giants to create innovative solutions for premium flyers. The first ever “Hack in the Hangar” allowed elite and global passengers to express their needs to 17 digital companies, with the goal of finding the next boom in travel technology.

WestJet flyers had the opportunity to meet with engineers from 17 different technology companies with one goal in mind: “hack” their way towards the next generation of digital travel tools and solutions. The Canadian airline called their first hackathon, the “Hack in the Hangar,” a successful event towards improving the passenger experience.

The selected group of flyers were sent to Calgary, where they partnered with representatives from companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter. Each corporate team was paired with two WestJet employees and one flyer and challenged to come up with something new to compliment the customer experience.

With the Canadian airline introducing business class with their first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, they started the first-ever event with the goal of building new digital tools to compliment the passenger experience. An airline spokesperson said the event was meant to be “fun and collaborative,” starting long-term projects which will require continued updating “and no finish line.”

“Bringing this level of creative talent from some of the most innovative companies in the world to Calgary at this scale is incredibly unique,” Alfredo C. Tan, chief digital and innovation officer, said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to seeing what some of the brightest minds in tech combined with our passionate employees and guests can create when given the opportunity to rise to the challenge and work together to win.”

Companies were not compensated for their participation at the event, but willingly signed up to get better insight into what travelers need during their flights. A team from Facebook told Canada’s Global News their goal was to find ways to help flyers “stay more connected to your friends and family at home,” or using “a bot or artificial intelligence to automate some of the things you want to do while you’re traveling.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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1 Comment

  1. makrom

    June 21, 2018 at 7:15 am

    First thing that comes to mind: IFEs that don’t suck. Don’t put a huge box in people’s legroom, stop using crappy screens and sluggish controls. Compare your average IFE with an iPad, it’s just devastating. And I bet even the IFE’s cost is infinitely higher

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