11 February 2011 | Apple’s versatile iPad is currently being used by airlines as inflight entertainment device, self-service kiosk, customer survey tool, or as a food ordering tool. Now Spanish airline Iberia has equipped its customer service staff at its Madrid-Barajas hub with iPads that provide them with real-time access to the information they need to make decisions and to keep passengers informed.
Iberia’s so-called IBPad is loaded with 30 different applications which together put the entire airport in the palm of the employee’s hand. Constantly updated with real-time information from Iberia’s Barajas Hub Control Centre, the IBPad enables agents to access a wide range of up-to-date information. Iberia says the IBPad will improve everyday operations and dealings with customers, boosting communications and staff decision-making autonomy while eliminating the use of paper. See here for a video of the IBPad functionality.
Information available to to staff via the IBPad includes:
- Information on passengers at risk of missing connecting flights and their status as customers.
- Information on passengers on intercontinental flights that have not yet checked-in.
- Flights at risk of being delayed or cancelled and any other incident that would impact on customers.
- The list of passengers on each flight who need assistance.
- List by departure zone of the status and progress of boarding procedures.
- Baggage remaining to be loaded on each flight, with passenger name.
- Incoming flight with baggage incidents, along with the number and names of affected passengers.
- View of main customer care documents.
- Images taken by the cameras in the area that show the length of queues, etc.
- The current status of check-in counters (open, closed, number of employees on duty).
- List of employees due to come on duty, with clock-in times and first scheduled tasks.
- List of employees with the least experience and their location and duties at all times.
- Details of all the check-in and boarding tasks to be performed for the airlines served by Iberia ground staff.
iPad as electronic flight bag
The iPad is also making inroads into the cockpit. In the U.S., jet charter operator Executive Jet Management (part of NetJets) after a three-month in-flight evaluation has just received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to use the Jeppesen Mobile TC App for iPad as an alternative to paper charts. The authorization allows Executive Jet Management to use the app and iPad as the sole reference for electronic charts during a flight.
Flight International reports that Swedish regional cargo carrier Amapola is testing a new electronic flight-bag cockpit installation based on the iPad for its Fokker 50 turboprop fleet. The carrier has secured Swedish civil aviation authority clearance, but needs to fly for a period with paper back-up and. If no operational problems emerge, the airline then can operate without any paper charts on board.
Airlines increasingly offer iPads in the air and on the ground
New Delta food areas at JFK let passengers order food at the gate via iPads
Finnair lends iPads to passengers for free, apps include customer feedback tool
American Airlines equips customer service agents with mobile ‘YADA’ device to help travelers on the spot