Finnair lends iPads to passengers for free, apps include customer feedback tool

We reported earlier how airlines are increasingly making Apple’s popular iPad device available to passengers in their lounges (KLM, Cathay Pacific, ANA) or rent them out in the air (Jetstar, airBaltic, Malaysian Airlines). Finnair is the latest airline to offer passengers the free use of an iPad device. The airline has made five iPads available for passengers in its Helsinki ‘Via Lounge’ in a one-month pilot this November. Later this month Finnair will also distribute the iPads for free in economy and business class on select flights to and from Hong Kong. The iPads have been loaded with dozens of applications and entertaining content, such as newspapers and magazines, films, TV series and games. 

Custom-made Finnair feedback app
In an innovative move, Finnair’s iPad devices also contain a bespoke customer research  application developed by the airline, which invites passengers to “explore a few ideas and give us your opinion.” Says Finnair’s Vice President Global Marketing Jarkko Konttinen, “We are constantly seeking new, innovative means for product development.” The Finnair survey app holds a dozen new product and service ideas considered by the airline, for example on inflight catering and onboard shopping. Passengers can rate their interest on a 1 to 5 scale on ideas such as the option to order food and drinks from the IFE system (a feature already offered by Virgin America, ANA and Air New Zealand), whether they want to learn more about the background of wines served onboard, or their preferred selection of items available for sale inflight (for example exclusive local Finnish souvenirs).

On a similar note, from June to August 2010, KLM used three iPads for a survey among passengers on its regional subsidiary KLM Cityhopper to test the feasibility of the device for passenger research. The iPads were dedicated for the survey with no entertaining content offered.

Rethink Quality
Finnair’s iPad pilot is part of its ‘Rethink Quality’ project, which was launched as part of a major quality-drive the airline has embarked on as it targets the quality-conscious Asian market. In early September Finnair launched a public search for four ‘Quality Hunters’, whose task is to travel across Finnair’s network for two months assessing flights, airports and destinations. As independent advisors to Finnair they are expected to communicate their impartial views and recommendations to the company on a regular basis throughout the two-month period.

Chosen out of 5,200 applications, four Quality Hunters have set off on Monday October 4 for the 61-day travel period, delivering blog reports from different parts of the world. Says Jarkko Konttinen, Finnair’s VP, Global Marketing. “I hope the project will generate high-quality development ideas, which we can refine for our customers’ enjoyment.“ Finnair has also been collecting product development ideas via its Facebook page.

Related articles:
Finnair launches public search for mystery flyers
Airlines increasingly offer iPads in the air and on the ground
Singapore Changi Airport lets travellers rate service on the spot


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