Recently, a leading global airline announced that its cabin crew would be equipped with iPhones in order to provide personalized services to passengers. Armed with a selection of applications, the crew will have access to relevant passenger information to offer services customized to individual profiles. The airline had earlier conducted a successful trial in equipping its senior cabin crew with iPads onboard flights.

As cabin crews are the key touchpoint between passengers and airlines, investments like these can go a long way in enhancing customer loyalty and airline reputation. Let us look at the different ways in which technology can transform cabin crew operations.

Integrated Data-on-Demand

Flight attendants spend the maximum time with passengers, and thus have the greatest opportunity to create differentiated experiences. Targeted information and insights on passengers enable cabin crew members to engage better with them and build stronger loyalty.

For example, a North American airline has been using a guest service tool, leveraging big data for in-flight cabin crew effectiveness. Besides generic information, it provides data on milestones achieved by passengers and other events. The dashboard enables easy passenger identification thereby empowering the cabin crew to conduct personalized interactions based on customer profiles. The airline expects this effort to impact the experience of 50,000 passengers on a daily basis.

Dashboards are another way to digitize cabin crew activities. A ‘child age’ tool on such dashboards, for instance, allows services to be customized for younger passengers through the right complimentary packs and seat locations.

Unlocking such a digital in-flight experience requires seamless IT connectivity between crew members and the customer relationship management systems. This leads to accurate and real-time information for quicker and more relevant responses, which make passengers feel valued.

It can also serve the airlines’ objectives to increase retail income. Airlines can leverage analytics to extract sharper insights into passengers’ requirements, and enable the cabin crew to offer relevant and individualized onboard sales opportunities.

Digitizing for Enhanced Operational Efficiency

By digitizing onboarding processes and workflows, and intelligently integrating them with existing IT systems, airlines can improve operational efficiency and crew performance at reduced costs. For example, crew members can identify and monitor optimum attendant positions for speedier and more efficient services. The cabin mobile device of a leading German airline’s digitization initiative, allows flight attendants to access service manuals, schedules and changes in plans. This frees up the crew’s time to provide more qualitative services in terms of communication and engagement – both with passengers and other personnel onboard.

The airline also uses a tablet dashboard feature to provide crew members with full workflow management to handle incidents — from registering the issue to identifying and processing the right type of compensation. Additionally, airlines can significantly reduce time, effort and the cost of paperwork.

Besides creating in-flight efficiency, going digital also eliminates slow manual data management efforts on the ground. By digitally integrating and synchronizing an airline’s on-ground and cabin IT systems, airlines can standardize the data flow of analytics-ready information to identify areas for smarter operations.

Enhancing In-flight Experience

As airlines look to improve profits by boosting ancillary revenue, there is a huge opportunity to deploy technology in transforming the ‘push trolley’ efficiencies while simultaneously improving in-flight shopping experiences.

Smart point-of-sale systems onboard flights can personalize sales and offer duty-free shopping on in-flight entertainment devices – or even on passengers’ tablets or smartphones. This will require creating streamlined systems that leverage advanced analytics and automation to seamlessly integrate data, inventory and payments in real-time, resulting in exceptional customer service, efficient inventory management and reduced operating costs.

Cabin crew members are crucial faces of an airline, and with technology-savvy passengers, a crew’s empowerment through digitization is an absolute imperative – for the delivery of seamless, efficient and personalized services onboard flights.

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