By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
January 2015 | Ordering food and beverages via tablet devices is rapidly becoming the new normal at casual dining restaurants across the USA (e.g, chains such as Applebees and Chili’s), while airport restaurateur OTG has installed thousands of iPads at half a dozen U.S. airports.
Furthermore, forward-looking airlines such as Virgin America, Air New Zealand and Norwegian allow passengers to order meals, snacks and drinks via the IFE system. Allowing passengers to order via their own smartphone will be a logical next step.
And, following the success of its mobile payment app, Starbucks last October introduced its first order-ahead mobile application in Portland, Oregon, in a bid to speed up service and boost sales. The first stores in Portland allow iPhone users to order using the Starbucks app before they arrive. Customers typically will have to wait about five minutes for their drinks and food to be ready after placing an order through the app.
Air New Zealand lounges
Tapping into today’s ‘coffee culture’ Air New Zealand has been featuring barista’s who make freshly brewed coffee to passenger’s preferences in its ‘Koru’ lounges for some time. Lounge guest could order their favourite coffee by ticking a few boxes on a piece of paper, add their name and hand it over.
In a clever move, flyers now can order barista-made coffee via Air NZ’s tablet or smartphone app the minute they walk into one of the airline’s Koru Clubs around New Zealand, including its international lounge at Auckland Airport.
According to Air New Zealand, the coffee ordering function has been trialled since August 2014 and has proven to be popular with customers (see also their enthusiastic reactions on Twitter (here, here, and here).
How it works
When a passenger checks in to the lounge (which requires them to open the app and scan their boarding pass in order to get access to the lounge) they receive a notification asking them if they want a coffee. If the passengers taps yes, the app shows a list of their previous orders, and how long it will take before their coffee is ready. Passengers can select their coffee – be it a ‘flat white’ or a ‘short black’, single, double or triple shot – and once their order is ready, they receives a push message. More details and screenshots of the coffee ordering app here.
Passengers can also order coffee via one of several iPad kiosks located around the lounge. Promoting the new app-based ordering service, the iPads contain a message that says: “Skip the queue next time and order via the Air New Zealand mobile app.”