A more personalized inflight experience will become a reality later this year as American Airlines flight attendants begin using the Samsung Galaxy Note as part of the airline’s tablet program.
“This is a huge step toward a new, modern American Airlines. Our tablet program is the first of its kind in the airline industry, where our flight attendants will have the most up-to-date customer information in the palms of their hands, allowing them to better serve our customers from boarding to deplaning,” says Lauri Curtis, American’s VP of flight service. “By giving a device to all of our active flight attendants, we are better enabling our people to deliver an exceptional customer experience.”
The new devices will be strategic tools for flight attendants, giving them greater access to more information about the customers onboard their flight. To better serve customers, flight attendants can use the device to:
American intends to use the devices for transactions onboard the aircraft such as purchasing food inflight, pending FAA approval. The device is a SAFE-designated device that offers a full portfolio of enterprise-ready features and capabilities. Additional functionality, including the addition of the flight attendant manual and more, will continue to roll out over time. This will eventually eliminate the need for flight attendants to carry paper manuals for a more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly approach.
- Access customer information such as name, seat number and loyalty program status in a seat map view and customer list view
- Record meal and beverage preferences for premium class customers
- Identify customers seated in the premium cabins and in the main cabin, and customers requiring special assistance
- Provide customers with connecting gate, flight delays and weather information. Pending FAA approval, all information will be automatically updated when Wi-Fi is available on the aircraft.
The airline began piloting the program this spring. Beginning later this year through mid-2013, it will roll out the devices to all of its approximately 17,000 flight attendants. The device was chosen based on flight attendant feedback after months of testing different devices because of its portability, profile, security features, 5.3-inch HD display and the functionality necessary to equip flight attendants with the ability to better know their customers and deliver services.
Solutions for Pilots
Furthering its efforts to advance airspace modernization, American Airlines announced on Sept. 14 that it is expanding its Electronic Flight Bag program for pilots after becoming the first commercial carrier to receive FAA approval to use iPads in the cockpit during all phases of flight.
In a similar, environmentally-friendly move, pilots will be using the tablets in approved aircraft to reduce or replace paper-based reference material and manuals in a pilot's carry-on kitbag. Removing the 35-pound kitbag from each plane will save the airline an estimated $1.2 million of fuel annually, based on current fuel prices.
"With this approval from the FAA, we will be able to use iPad to fully realize the benefits of our Electronic Flight Bag program, including improving the work environment for our pilots, reducing our dependency on paper products and increasing fuel efficiency on our planes. We are equipping our people with the best resources and this will allow our pilots to fly more efficiently," said Capt. John Hale, vice president of flight at American Airlines, at the time of the announcement.