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Facebook Messenger launches its first airline bot

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines customers can get their info right within the app.

Facebook Messenger has a new bot, and this one can deliver all your flight info to one thread. The Messenger team has announced that its first airline partner's, the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines', bot is up and running in some locations and will be more widely available in the coming days. You have to choose to receive info via Messenger when you book tickets through the airline's website to be able to take advantage of its new feature. Once you do, the bot can send you your itinerary, boarding pass, check-in confirmation and even delay notifications through the app. It also gives you the choice to talk to a human staff member in case you have questions way above the bot's pay grade.

If you'll recall, TechCrunch reported earlier this year that Facebook gave select developers access to an SDK for Messenger in order to grow an army of useful chatbots. This is likely one of the products of that effort. The disembodied customer service assistants have been a common feature in Asian messaging apps such as WeChat and Line for quite some time now, and their Western counterparts are following suit. Microsoft has just announced at the Build 2016 conference that the latest version of Skype, just like Messenger, will also be able to run AI chatbots. The company even demoed how easy it is to order pizza from within the app on top of talking about its AI strategy. Obviously, both Facebook and Microsoft are working to make Messenger and Skype more valuable to their users.