AI-Powered Ingredients to Enhance Airline Customer Experience in 2022

Anusree Bhattacharya | December 3, 2021 | 136 views

AI Blog AviationReport
Experience is Everything—human or mechanical. But Get it Right.

"AI's potential doesn't solely lie in its ability to improve business efficiency. Rather it lies in its ability to bridge the gap between businesses and customers. AI-powered communications enable for surged personalized and strengthening of information, stimulating customer trust and customer experiences."

- Kevin Gosschalk, CEO, Arkose Labs, in a conversation with Media 7.

Whether you make payments with a single tap in apps, ask Alexa to instruct in your smartphones, select Google assistance to find flights, or connect to airline companies, digital transformation is omnipresent. So, the appreciation comes naturally for how today's digital atmosphere transforms and affects our lives in every way.

Yes, you heard that right!

Using Google assistance to find flights is not the new way the industry uses AI. Instead, it has enhanced its way of AI usage into its process and operations. Like other businesses, aviation businesses are catching up well in using data and technology. With the help of these, they now create more compelling and prompter customer experiences.

The developments and revenues in the global aviation industry are skyrocketing. The industry expects almost 8.2 billion passengers to fly around the world by 2037. The rising numbers are because of digital transformation. The most interesting thing is aviation now has to manage high expectations of digital-savvy customers. It will be even more interesting now!

Before the blog breaks into discussing the futuristic airline customer experience, let's look at the flashback of the past customer experience scenarios (challenges) that prevailed in the airline industry.


Past Customer Experience Scenario in Airline

The aviation industry in 2018 recorded 4.4 billion passengers flying around the world. Furthermore, according to the IATA reports, the count is anticipated to reach 8.2 billion by 2037. But the industry is increasingly lacking behind in customer experience.

Complex booking procedures and missing out on the best flight offers because of complex app/website navigation and other potential customer services are issues raised in air travel today. Apart from this, customers also raise concerns over inflight infotainment systems. The systems merely do their job. Therefore, as many airport terminals are still empty, customer service representatives are working harder to overcome such issues.

As the industry has stepped into the fourth industrial revolution, AI rewards the best experiences for travels and other airline customer services. Now, airline marketers can find diverse AI-based digital solutions to sail through the cloud. And the findings are quite remarkable.

Let's come to the part where you will know how AI is helping the aviation industry scale its customer services.


How Can AI Enrich Airline and Scale Customer Services?

Airlines that leverage AI customer experience have had a significant advantage during the pandemic time. Their insights have been put into enriching the entire aviation business. Let's understand the 'how.'


Get Multiple Output in Seconds

When the demand for air fly rise, offering immediate services for customer handling teams becomes stressful. However, with AI, instances like this get a perfect solution.

AI can handle an infinite number of customers' demands at once. By leveraging AI-based digital solutions, you can scale up fulfilling airline operations in seconds. As a result, teams in your firm can easily diminish the increased demand for services and serve remarkable customer experience.

The benefit of AI can also be seen crosswise support channels. For instance, WestJet's ticket volume surged by 71% on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp during the beginning weeks of COVID-19 disruption in North America. However, the airline kept its response time low as its virtual agent Juliet ultimately resolved 87% of tickets.


Identity New and Trending Issues

Aviation is an industry of challenges. Issues and obstacles keep knocking on the door of airline companies. In such cases, AI informs if there are any trending issues over channels. For example, during the COVID-19 outbreak, new onboard safety issues and questions towards social distancing surfaced for the first time. However, airlines have never come through about social distancing. So, by leveraging AI, they created a responsive plan for customers. They communicated the same through AI-enabled solutions on websites and applications.

In response to the coronavirus, Gartner suggests that companies should use chatbots in digital channels to focus on the most ordinarily asked questions to give solutions for customers.


Feedback Analysis

Air travel can be stressful at times, even for frequent and experienced travelers. For example, it could be passport-related or booking tickets, baggage checks, ticket prints, arrivals, departures, seat assistance, etc.

So, by analysis of data, artificial intelligence in customer experience learns about these pain points of airports and flight experiences. In this way, customer experience can be improved and enhanced simultaneously.

Then comes feedback. Using AI for feedback analysis, airlines can research the market. It can make informed decisions related to processes and operations. 

"AI systems can quickly allow airlines to discover opportunities to intervene in the customer journey and turn a miserable experience into a delightful one. It also allows companies to respond faster in a synchronized and regulated way that is uniform with the business's values. Ultimately, we want to understand how an airline can fascinate a customer as well as where there is an abrasion in the customer journey and figure out how to fix it,"

- CEO of PureStrategy Inc. Briana Brownell

Briana highlights the growing relevance of natural language used in AI. Understanding technology in the processing and analysis of customer experience data thus allows businesses to explore the customer journey in their own words.

For example, ANIE, an AI assistance, can help customers find, book, and pay for flights.


Effective Communication

The speed of responsive communication to customer queries is highly considered to resolve issues. For example, airport issues like flight delays or baggage loss crop up quite often throwing. As a result, travelers usually get into a state of nervousness. However, when they do not get a response or explanation to their problems, they start considering other airlines for their future trips.

In these cases, AI software deployment can speed up and simplify services, automatically enhancing airline customer experience. In addition, effective customer emails with exact information can also solve significant issues and streamline employees' workflow using natural text.

Another way to automate and improve airline customer experience is chatbot development. Today, many airlines enhance their customer support with AI-powered chatbots on their websites and mobile applications.

The Business Insider’s research report says that by 2022, over 80% of airline businesses are likely to have chatbot automation implemented in operations.

These chatbots help passengers with bookings, managing flight schedules, and updating customers about general flight information. In addition, they can post queries and other types of assistance to get quick responses.

Self-Services at Airports

Easy self-check-ins, ticket booths, and overall communication (from booking to destination arrival) add to the comprehensive AI-based digital solutions.

The pandemic forced the aviation industry to witness the extraordinary rise of numerous contactless technologies. So, airports are now more focused on providing self-services for customers. These include contactless payments, luggage checks, robotic assistance for queries, and more like these.

Self-service systems in airports are critical automated systems. AI technology is installed to automate passenger journeys without any hurdles.

Today, airline companies and airports implement an end-to-end solution using artificial intelligence in customer experience to facilitate smooth passenger air travel and operations. In case of point, Delta Airlines, one of the world's largest global airlines, uses intelligent systems such as Fly to Gate by Thales. The system works with biometrics technology. The employees use it for the document scanning process to recognize and verify passengers at security checks.

Such technology reduces passenger check-in time and improves customer experience.


Future of AI Customer Experience in Airline Industry

There are many shreds of evidence that customers increasingly want a personal touch with their communications. They adore personalized services. Even airline companies are seeking profound connections with their customers. And this is the right time to act by offering personalized customer experiences.

Today, AI makes it possible for the entire airline industry to enhance customer experience with automation, provide self-service solutions, ensure safe air travel, and more. Technology is a powerful tool for airlines to make informed decisions that they couldn't take in the past few years. Now airlines can make decisions faster on essential decisions such as on pricing of tickets by analyzing data, enabling secure authentication of customers than before.

Ultimately, the success of artificial intelligence in customer experience is driven by having a deep understanding of different customer segments. By harnessing the power of conversational AI, airline businesses can improve their ROI, nurture long-term customer relationships, metrics being the core elements.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can airline companies improve their customer experience?

To improve customer experience, airline companies can follow these ways:
  • Focus on knowing the target audience
  • Meet unique and specific customer needs
  • Keep customers engaged on social media platforms
  • Make smart customer-targeted decisions
  • Be responsive towards customers


How does AI play its role in aviation concerning customer experiences these days?

AI plays a crucial role in helping customers in aviation to find the correct information more efficiently. It actively helps analyze customers' data and recommend services based on their browsing preferences about flights.


How does AI improve customer experience?

AI enables the power to strengthen customer engagement, encourage activities, and improve customer retention. Although not a replacement for human beings, it does help increase the efficiency of serving — like answering frequently asked questions, providing the correct information, and being available 24*7.

Spotlight

Metro Aviation, Inc.

Our Aircraft Completion Center installs full Air Medical, Law Enforcement, and VIP/Corporate kits, components, and avionics packages for new and existing customers. Our completion center is the largest and most comprehensive Airbus completion center in the world.

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United Airlines’ commitment represents purchasing more than twice as much SAF as the rest of the world’s airlines combined. “Abundant sustainable biomass conversion to energy-dense, drop-in liquid fuels is essential to accelerating the current global transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Thomas Meth, President of Enviva. “This joint effort between Enviva and Alder Fuels enables sourcing of sustainable wood fiber and industry-leading technology to deliver the feedstock flexibility and commercialization of SAF needed to achieve jet fuel decarbonization at scale.” All woody biomass feedstock supplied by Enviva to Alder Fuels will continue to adhere to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive’s requirements, as well as Enviva’s industry-leading Responsible Sourcing Policy. In addition, Enviva and Alder Fuels have committed to collaborating to gain sustainability certification under the internationally renowned Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials standard. These guidelines and conditions are further supported by Enviva’s industry-leading Track & Trace® program that provides detailed, verifiable, and independently audited data about the sustainability of Enviva’s sourcing activities and the journey its feedstocks take from the forest tract to the production plant to customers around the globe. About Alder Fuels Alder Fuels is powering the global clean energy transformation and race to net zero through the conversion of natural biomass into low-carbon to carbon-negative Alder Greencrude (AGC). This greencrude can then be converted into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), other low-carbon fuels, and chemicals using existing global refinery equipment and infrastructure. Bryan Sherbacow, Alder Fuels President & CEO, has a proven record for the development and commercial deployment of novel technology, including the world’s first refinery designed to produce renewable jet and military-grade fuels. Alder Fuels is backed by Honeywell UOP, United Ventures, AvFuel, Boeing, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). For more information, visit http://www.alderfuels.com/ About Enviva Enviva Inc. (NYSE: EVA) is the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets, a renewable and sustainable energy source produced by aggregating a natural resource, wood fiber, and processing it into a transportable form, wood pellets. Enviva owns and operates ten plants with a combined production capacity of approximately 6.2 million metric tons per year in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi, and is constructing its 11th plant, which will be located in Epes, Alabama. Enviva sells most of its wood pellets through long-term, take-or-pay off-take contracts with creditworthy customers in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Japan, helping to accelerate the energy transition and to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors like steel, cement, lime, chemicals, and aviation fuels. Enviva exports its wood pellets to global markets through its deep-water marine terminals at the Port of Chesapeake, Virginia, the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina, and the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and from third-party deep-water marine terminals in Savannah, Georgia, Mobile, Alabama, and Panama City, Florida.

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BUSINESS AVIATION, COMMERCIAL AVIATION

Canada Jetlines Partners with Sabre on Global Distribution Agreement

Canada Jetlines | September 23, 2022

Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. Canadian, leisure airline, is proud to announce a worldwide distribution agreement with Sabre, the leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry.This new long-term agreement ensures that Sabre will distribute the carrier’s comprehensive content for travel agencies and corporations through the Sabre travel marketplace (GDS) -- supporting Canada Jetlines in powering future revenue growth while reaching key market segments associated with the GDS. Canada Jetlines will leverage Sabre’s ancillary services to provide travel agencies around the world with access to the airline’s complete range of travel products, including fares and seat availability. “We are pleased to have achieved this agreement with Sabre, which broadens Canada Jetlines’ distribution capabilities to meet our international growth objectives.This partnership aligns with our projected distribution strategy of providing the right content in the right channel. As a leisure airline, Canada Jetlines recognizes the key role that travel agencies play in our success.” Duncan Bureau, Chief Commercial Officer of Canada Jetlines The Sabre travel marketplace is instrumental in facilitating the marketing, sale and servicing of airfares, hotel rooms, rental cars, rail tickets and other types of travel to buyers around the world who use it to shop, book and manage travel.Canada Jetlines will begin operations out of its travel hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), with its first scheduled route into YYC Calgary International Airport on September 22, 2022, with biweekly flights operating Thursdays and Sundays out of Toronto (YYZ) to Calgary (YYC) from 07:55am EST – 10:10am MST and returns from Calgary (YYC) to Toronto (YYZ) 11:40am MST – 17:20 EST. Frequency will increase to three flights per week, Thursdays through Sundays, starting later in the fall. About Canada Jetlines Canada Jetlines is a leisure focused air carrier, which will utilize a growing fleet of Airbus 320 aircraft to provide Canadians with value vacation choices and convenient travel options. Canada Jetlines will provide exciting vacation packages to iconic Canadian destinations and beyond via strong partnerships with airports, CVB’s, tourism entities, hotels, hospitality brands, and attractions. With a projected growth of 15 aircrafts by 2025, Canada Jetlines aims to offer the best-in-class operating economics, customer comfort and fly-by-wire technology, providing an elevated guest centric experience from the first touchpoint. To learn more, please visit www.jetlines.com and follow on all social media platforms for news and updates.

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BUSINESS AVIATION

Modern Aviation Expands into the Midwest with the Acquisition of the Elliott Aviation FBO at Des Moines International Airport

Modern Aviation | September 26, 2022

Modern Aviation announced today that it has closed the acquisition of the FBO assets and operations at Des Moines International Airport from Elliott Aviation, bringing its total number of locations to thirteen.Modern's new FBO in Des Moines operates on a 17-acre leasehold and offers state of the art facilities and amenities such as conference rooms and workstations, sleep rooms, crew cars and comfortable lounge areas with approximately 145,000 square feet of heated hangar space and 20,000 square feet of office space. Elliott will continue to operate a maintenance, repair, and overhaul business on the airfield. "We are very excited about our new operation in Des Moines, which provides our customers access to our services for the first time in the Midwest. Elliott Aviation has a long history of providing outstanding customer service to its customers through its highly experienced and long tenured employees, all of whom have joined Modern. I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Modern Aviation family to our new teammates and customers. We also look forward to partnering with the Des Moines Airport Authority to continue to grow DSM and benefit the local community." Mark Carmen, Modern Aviation's CEO Greg Sahr, President and CEO of Elliott Aviation, stated, Divesting our Des Moines FBO business to a great partner in Modern Aviation is a win-win for Elliott Aviation, our employees, Modern Aviation, and the Des Moines community. While our FBO employees will continue to provide exceptional service at the DSM location under the Modern umbrella, this divestiture will allow Elliott to focus our efforts and investment on growing our MRO business across our geographic footprint. In addition to Des Moines, Iowa (DSM), Modern Aviation operates at Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM), Seattle, Washington (BFI), Denver, Colorado (APA), San Juan, Puerto Rico (SIG), LaGuardia Airport, NY (LGA), John F. Kennedy Airport, NY (JFK), Long Island MacArthur Airport, NY (ISP), Republic Airport, NY (FRG), Francis S. Gabreski Airport, NY (FOK), Sacramento Executive Airport (SAC), Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and Sacramento Mather Airport (MHR). About MODERN AVIATION Modern Aviation is a growing company that is building a national network of premium FBO properties. Modern Aviation's strategy is to acquire and develop FBO operations in growth markets and to focus on providing exceptional service, extraordinary quality and industry-leading safety. Modern Aviation is backed by the growth-oriented infrastructure private equity fund, Tiger Infrastructure Partners. Modern Aviation is actively engaged in pursuing additional FBO acquisitions and development opportunities in North America and the Caribbean.

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