Things aren't all Champagne and caviar over at American Airlines, not that you'd know it from the company's latest press release. The Dallas-based air carrier just shared a plan to outfit all of its flight attendants with Samsung Galaxy Notes beginning later this year. The rollout will continue through the middle of 2013, at which point each of the airline's 17,000 cabin crew members will have their very own "tablet," which they'll use to manage flight manifests, track premium passenger meal preferences and monitor weather and gate information in real-time, on WiFi-equipped flights. Eventually, the handsets will also include the flight attendant manual, along with additional features, such as processing for in-flight meal and drink purchases (pending FAA approval).
Though the Galaxy Note II will likely be available by the time the program begins, the press release references a 5.3-inch display, which would imply the previous-gen handset. Sadly, this Note of excitement comes alongside news that some 11,000 American mechanics and ground workers could get a pink slip come November -- as frequent air travelers ourselves, we're genuinely sorry to hear that, and we don't want any gadget to overshadow the airline's ongoing troubles and the unfortunate fate of hardworking employees. You can catch that angle at the coverage link below, then read all about the Note program just after the break.
American Airlines Flight Attendants To Make Travel More Personalized With Innovative Inflight Tablet Program
American's Tablet Program Planned to be the First of its Kind for any Airline
FORT WORTH, Texas – A more personalized inflight experience will become a reality later this year as American Airlines flight attendants begin using the sleek, new Samsung Galaxy Note® as part of American's innovative tablet program designed to put invaluable customer data at their fingertips.
"This is a huge step towards a new, modern American Airlines, as our tablet program is the first of its kind in the airline industry, where our flight attendants will have the most up-to-date customer information in the palms of their hands, allowing them to better serve our customers from boarding to deplaning," said Lauri Curtis, American's Vice President – Flight Service. "By giving a device to all of our active flight attendants we are better enabling our people to deliver an exceptional customer experience."
The new devices will be a strategic tool for flight attendants giving them greater access to more information about the customers onboard their flight. To better serve customers, American's flight attendants can use the device to:
· Access customer information such as name, seat number and loyalty program status in a seat map view and customer list view;
· Record meal and beverage preferences for premium class customers;
· Easily identify high-value customers seated in the premium cabins and in the main cabin, and customers requiring special assistance; and,
· Provide customers with connecting gate, flight delays and weather information – pending FAA approval, all information will be automatically updated when Wi-Fi is available on the aircraft.
American intends to use the devices for transactions onboard the aircraft such as purchasing food inflight, pending FAA approval. The Samsung Galaxy Note is a SAFE™-designated device that offers a full portfolio of enterprise-ready features and capabilities. Additional functionality such as the addition of the flight attendant manual and more will continue to roll out over time. Adding the manual to the device will eventually eliminate the need for flight attendants to carry paper manuals – a more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly approach.
American began piloting the program this spring. Beginning later this year through mid-2013, American will roll out the selected devices to all of its approximately 17,000 flight attendants. The Samsung Galaxy Note was chosen based on flight attendant feedback after months of testing different devices. Through testing, the Samsung Galaxy Note was ultimately selected because of its thin, portable design, easy to handle profile, SAFE security features, and 5.3-inch HD display that provide wide-screen readability and the functionality necessary to equip flight attendants with the ability to better know their customers and deliver the service they value.
"We're pioneering important new technologies as part of our continued effort to build a new American and return to industry leadership," said Maya Leibman, American's Chief Information Officer. "As we continue to evolve into a more modern airline and explore ways to enhance the travel experience, we are giving our people the tools they need to offer our loyal customers ease of travel both in the air and on the ground."
Furthering its efforts to advance airspace modernization, American Airlines announced earlier this month that it is expanding its Electronic Flight Bag program for pilots after becoming the first commercial carrier to receive FAA approval to use a tablet device in the cockpit during all phases of flight.
"From inflight entertainment to customer management, American Airlines is deploying cutting-edge technology to enhance the customer experience," said Timothy Wagner, Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Sales for Samsung Mobile. "By pairing the power and performance of Samsung devices with the capabilities of their inflight teams, American is truly becoming the airline of the future – today."
For more information on American's innovative tablet program for flight attendants, please visit: http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/samsung-galaxy-note.jsp and www.youtube.com/americanairlines.