British Airways customers around the world will benefit from a new level of customer service thanks to thousands of iPads being issued to the airlineâ€™s senior cabin crew from next week.
These new tablets are supposed to improve communications and service between the airline and passengers, something that is often lacking with many airlines these days as they rely on their facilities rather than crew to retain customers.
The move comes after a highly successful trial, involving 100 senior crew members, who are responsible for delivering service to customers onboard the airlineâ€™s 226 aircraft.
Specially developed software and apps enable cabin crew to tap into data giving them customer preferences and their previous travel arrangements, allowing them to offer a uniquely personalised service.
The three month-long trial has been judged such a fly away success that British Airways has given the go-ahead for the specially equipped iPad 2 to be issued to 2,000 senior cabin crew across the entire British Airways long and shorthaul fleet.
Frank van der Post, British Airwaysâ€™ managing director, brands and customer experience, said: â€śThe possibilities for future development of the iPad are endless, and this is only the beginning. Once the roll-out has been completed, our crew worldwide will be able to offer a premium and more thoughtful onboard service to customers in every cabin. “
Bill Francis, British Airwaysâ€™ head of inflight customer experience, added:
â€śThe benefit of the iPads has been felt right from the beginning, with fantastic feedback from both customers and cabin crew alike.”
â€śThe iPads provide real-time insight into our customersâ€™ preferences across a whole range of areas, from special meal requests to onward travel plans enabling us to deliver a truly bespoke service.â€ť
The iPad discreetly replaces long cumbersome scrolls of paper, which are normally handed to cabin crew, listing up to 337 customers, just before the doors close and the aircraft departs.
Instead, the iPad, equipped with British Airways developed apps, is simply refreshed just before departure using 3G technology, to provide cabin crew with an up-to-the-minute passenger and preference list.
This means any customer service issues which arise in the air, can immediately be followed up by ground-based colleagues as soon as the aircraft lands and the iPad reconnects to the network.
The iPad also shows cabin crew where each customer is seated, who they are travelling with, their Executive Club status and any special meal requests. In addition, it also gives them a vast library of information at their fingertips including timetables, safety manuals and customer service updates.
Destination guides to are also being loaded on to the iPads so cabin crew can provide customers with the latest information about key cities served by British Airways.
iPads used by pursers onboard the British Airways business class-only service between London City Airport and New Yorkâ€™s JFK, can also get live updates throughout the flight, thanks to the servicesâ€™ unique OnAir capability, which allows internet access across the Atlantic.
Over the next five years British Airways will be investing more than ÂŁ5bn in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges,and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.