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iPhones Coming to UA Flights For Use by Cabin Crew

iPhones Coming to UA Flights For Use by Cabin Crew

Old Dec 10, 14, 1:41 pm
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iPhones Coming to UA Flights For Use by Cabin Crew

UA FAs are getting iPhone 6+ devices starting in Q2.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/united...91500776.html?

Will handle POS transactions and internal policy stuff as well.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 2:20 pm
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Any idea of how many issues of US Weekly can be stored on it....?



Seriously, this could be a interesting tool if they develop the systems correctly behind it.

If they simply use it as an e-reader to house documents, that would not be such a enhancement.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 2:36 pm
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Even if it is just an eReader to replace the policy manual with a searchable PDF the weight savings have to be significant over time, similar to the pilots switching to the EFBs. And pulling the old POS devices out should have a significant weight savings as well. Maybe it is only 30-50# per flight overall, but with thousands of flight each day that means a lot more than taking an olive off the salad plate.

As the in-flight connectivity rollout gets completed it also presents some interesting customer service options. It is not all that hard to allow specific devices access to internal systems or even to the internet bypassing the pay portal. CC transactions could be validated real-time cutting down on fraud/chargebacks, flight status updates for connecting passengers becomes possible and more.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 3:12 pm
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If they develop a maintenance reporting app I would think it'd be beneficial. Simple things like headset jack or overhead light doesn't work. If properly integrated could really be awesome.

I can only imagine how much training will be required as the FAs become more proficient at troubleshooting the WiFi since they'll be using it as well.

Wonder what cases they'll use to help harden them? I can only imagine the beating these would take after seeing the way FAs treat the POS machines today.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by RockinRon View Post
If they develop a maintenance reporting app I would think it'd be beneficial. Simple things like headset jack or overhead light doesn't work. If properly integrated could really be awesome.
This is the type of stuff that the IT folks have been talking about for a while now. I wrote about it back in September describing United's focus on having each aircraft be a node on the network rather than just a plane. Here's one quote from UA's Managing Director, Cabin Systems about the approach:
We’re bringing a cross-section of divisions together and challenging them: What does a connected airplane do to your aspect of our business? How do we start to work together to unlock value? It is probably going to take restructuring or reorganizing internally to get the kinds of successes we think are out there.
The company is not there yet; probably not even particularly close. But it has very real potential to get there and the connectivity is just part of it. Having the FAs able to be connected while working is another part. It all plays together.

n.b. The link above is to my blog or to one which I am a regular contributor. FT rules require that I disclose that in the post.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 3:44 pm
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I wonder why they're going with more expensive, technologically inferior Apple devices. They could've gotten a lot more bang for their buck with Android devices and they wouldn't have had to deal with crappy Apple products.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by octopic View Post
I wonder why they're going with more expensive, technologically inferior Apple devices. They could've gotten a lot more bang for their buck with Android devices and they wouldn't have had to deal with crappy Apple products.
FWIW, a former CO/UA CFO was at Apple from May 2012 to May 2014, although he has since moved on.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/emc-name...ief-1412196846
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Old Dec 10, 14, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
This is the type of stuff that the IT folks have been talking about for a while now. I wrote about it back in September describing United's focus on having each aircraft be a node on the network rather than just a plane.
Kind of like what DL has been doing for some time now.

DL validates CC transactions in real time, has employee access to their intranet site and email, etc. DL FAs can even issue SkyMiles compensation on the spot from their phones.

DL used a Microsoft phone platform, which is questionable from a technology perspective, but strategic if you're trying to build a hub in Seattle.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by octopic View Post
I wonder why they're going with more expensive, technologically inferior Apple devices. They could've gotten a lot more bang for their buck with Android devices and they wouldn't have had to deal with crappy Apple products.
It probably has to do with the backend systems. IBM and Apple announced a bunch of iOS based apps today. http://bgr.com/2014/12/10/apple-ibm-ios-apps/

This is one of them (from the article):

Passenger+ (Travel and Transportation) “empowers flight crews to offer an unmatched level of personalized services to passengers in-flight—including special offers, re-booking, and baggage information.”
So, if UA implements it right, it could be a pretty big improvement for them. In a perfect world the device would "chirp" that a traveler had a misconnect or a cancel, the FA would see this and could take care of a rebook. But we all know that won't happen.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
... DL used a Microsoft phone platform, which is questionable from a technology perspective, but strategic if you're trying to build a hub in Seattle.
Though I despise Microsoft, their technology is not bad. The issue is the way they use it to restrict you in order to cram more MS down your throat.

In a situation such as this though, it is not that bad. The devices used by the crew in no way need to be open and flexible. They need to be "corporate".
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Old Dec 10, 14, 5:12 pm
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We'll see if "Bing" becomes the default browser. I believe that google's contract is up very soon.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 6:57 pm
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Originally Posted by WIRunner View Post
It probably has to do with the backend systems. IBM and Apple announced a bunch of iOS based apps today. http://bgr.com/2014/12/10/apple-ibm-ios-apps/

This is one of them (from the article):



So, if UA implements it right, it could be a pretty big improvement for them. In a perfect world the device would "chirp" that a traveler had a misconnect or a cancel, the FA would see this and could take care of a rebook. But we all know that won't happen.
It would be surprising to me if these apps had the necessary hooks into the major GDS platforms ready to go.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
It would be surprising to me if these apps had the necessary hooks into the major GDS platforms ready to go.
It would be surprising that once they did that UA would implement them correctly. I could see something going wrong and a ground stop happening for an afternoon from Shares exploding.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 8:51 pm
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Coolness?

Could the choice of iPhone be partly based on a desire to please the FA's? It might speed adoption of a new system and be a relatively inexpensive way to cheer some employees.

Also, if I recall correctly, the UA app started on the iPhone. So maybe IT feels most comfortable with the iWorld.
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Old Dec 10, 14, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by NJFlyer42 View Post
Could the choice of iPhone be partly based on a desire to please the FA's? It might speed adoption of a new system and be a relatively inexpensive way to cheer some employees.

These will probably be pretty locked down. It's not terribly pleasing when you can't do whatever you want on it.
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