Airlines Updating Tech in Attempt to Improve Customer Experience
Carriers have begun introducing hand-held devices for airport agents, allowing them instant access to flight information, as well as the ability to advise travelers airport-wide. Officials are also exploring ways to take advantage of GPS-enabled smartphones, which may enable airlines to instantly know if a passenger is stuck in traffic or to offer an earlier flight, if she or he show up with time to spare.
Many are optimistic that more contemporary technology can also help airline companies better deal with delays and setbacks. Some airlines, including Continental Airlines and American Airlines, have now begun using something called 'Yada,' a system that allows agents to instantly rebook passengers, relay gate change information and hunt down lost luggage -- negating the need for travelers to wait in line. Since the Yada devices are equipped with credit card readers, airline workers can check oversized bags directly at the gate, and administer extra fees as necessary.
This new technology will gradually make its way across major airports this summer, so it may be a while before the industry completely catches up to the 21st century. Yet it's still a positive sign that airlines have realized that customer satisfaction is intrinsically linked to collective success. As Delta Air Lines chief information officer Theresa Wise says, "Technology is absolutely key for us to be able to offer an exceptional customer experience, which in turn is necessary to succeed as an airline." [From: New York Times]