British Airways: You Sure Look Familiar

British Airways recently began a new database program called “Know Me,” which utilizes the power of modern technology to provide customers with a tailored flight experience. Flying entails a wealth of customer data: from food preferences to delays experienced to the number of times flying the airline, each customer has its own set of particulars. BA aims to transfer this data into personalizing the flight experience for customers by providing flight attendants access to a database on iPads.

From ETN: “The program is able to send messages with information about specific customers to the iPads of customer service agents and senior cabin crew, or update check-in staff via the airline’s computer system. For example, they may be informed that a Silver Executive Club member is flying in business class for the first time thereby enabling the crew member to welcome that customer and explain the benefits of the cabin. Equally, if a regular traveler has experienced any issues on previous flights, such as a delay due to weather, the crew will be informed of that and will be able to go the extra mile, recognize the previous issue and thank the customer for their continued patronage.”

A controversial part of the program also enables BA service attendants to attempt to identify passengers via Google Image search, based on the notion that physically recognizing passengers strengthens the connection between the airline and passenger.

Why I’m Curious

Oh, the power of human recognition. Your coffee shop has your order ready just as you walk through the door, and associates at your favorite store put new products on the side so you can get them before anyone else. It’s an empowering feeling. Now keep this feeling in mind when you consider the anonymity of modern-day flight travel. Lines everywhere, just another faceless passenger on a plane, navigating the wonders of the TSA.

BA’s “Know Me” program is the perfect solution to this issue, providing customers with a travel experience tailored to their needs. A long-haul flight on British Airways is a bit of a modern luxury, and in a market driven mostly by price, a program like this can help justify the extra money spent on a BA flight. As for the Google Images piece, I’d recommend BA ask passengers to submit a photo during the purchase process, which should eliminate the weirdness.

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