ANA to provide cabin crew with iPads as a training manual

Following earlier initiatives by Alaska Airlines and United who are supplying all their pilots with company iPads, ANA will become the first airline in the world to provide all its cabin attendants with the device. The Japanese carrier said it will arm each of the company’s roughly 6,000 flight attendants with an iPad tablet in a move to reduce training costs by about JPY200 million (USD2.6 million).

The use of iPads instead of traditional paper training manuals will cut down on printing and distribution costs for ANA, as well as make sure that staff will be able to access the latest information. During training, ANA flight attendants are required to constantly carry the bulky training manual with them (also on flights), which weighs about 2.1 kilograms and consists of around 1,000 pages over three volumes. The manuals also have to be updated and reprinted several times a year.

Furthermore, with the roll-out of the 0.7kg iPad, ANA will move away from centralized training and provide self-taught lessons on the iPad instead. For example, cabin crew will be able to download videos teaching the correct way to serve a meal to travelers and how to handle emergency situations.

ANA says it anticipates that cutting the need for staff to physically gather for tutorials will significantly slash training time, as e-learning will make the training process easier and shorter because crew members can study at any time and in any place.

Approximately 700 cabin attendants will begin trialing the iPad from October 2011 before full roll out in April 2012.

This isn’t ANA’s first deployment of iPads. Since 2010, the airline also provides 5 iPads for loan to passengers in its Tokyo Haneda lounge.

In-flight service
When asked whether ANA has got plans to use the iPads as a customer service tool onboard, an ANA spokeswoman said that the airline also has ideas to use the iPad to improve the in-flight service, but that the airline will use the device as a crew manual to begin with.

British Airways, meanwhile, has just equipped 100 of its cabin crew with iPads to enable them to have prior awareness of customer preferences and a greater understanding of each customer’s previous travel arrangements. The iPad lets BA crew identify where each customer is seated, who they are travelling with, their frequent flyer status, any special meal requests, as well as customer service updates. The latter means that any issues can be logged with ground-based colleagues prior to departure so solutions can be delivered while the flight is airborne. The iPad is currently being trialled with 100 cabin crew with the aim to roll it out to all 1,800 senior crew members across the airline in the coming months.

On a similar note, KLM will provide a group of 50 senior pursers with iPads on board as part of a 6-month trial project starting this week. According to KLM it is becoming increasingly important that its cabin crew has access to the latest passenger information when onboard, as personal contact with passengers on the ground is becoming rarer, due to the increased deployment of self-service kiosks.


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