You sit on your window seat, on your summer vacation, when the flight attendant wishes you a happy birthday or gets excited about the bad weather that delayed the last leg of your journey. The flight crew has recently scoured your social media posts, some airlines would not need it.
Airlines such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines are giving gate agents and cabin crew access to more customer data hoping to provide passengers with more personalized service.
Still, just having enough birthday greetings to make up for a lost bag or a late arrival, especially when airlines want to avoid conversations that feel too personal. While in-cabin detection is the most visible way airlines are working to do more with the data they collect, behind-the-scenes efforts to capture everything from airport car collisions to turbulence touches nearly every piece of passenger [1
When it comes to personalized service, the importance of today's programs depends on who you ask. The consulting firm IdeaWorks said it was skeptical that employees had the right information or the right time to give their passengers one real value to offer plane first. Even if an airline could predict your order for drinks, it's not an exhausting task, he said, and flight attendants have other jobs to do.
"It just will not happen in the coach," Sorensen said. 19659002] But passengers seem to appreciate the personal touch, said Allison Ausband, senior vice president of onboard services at Delta. Delta aims to have these personal interactions with about 20 travelers per flight, either in conversations or through postcards that handlers can deliver by hand. Priority is given to those who had some sort of disruption on a recent flight, such as a long delay.
"They want us to know them and know what happens to them when they do business with us," said Ausband.
Currently, most cabin crew members have access to a personalized air service already covered by airlines, such as the frequent flyer status or details included in each booking, such as date of birth and passenger connection  But both Delta and United said they experimented with adding additional information, such as food and beverage preferences.
"The trick with all of this is how to provide good, relevant information that is easy to use" Linda Jojo, Chief Digital Officer of United, is not in the way. "
Southwest Airlines is testing a similar program Customer Service Representatives Should Help Find "Key Customers" "At the gate, where they can try to solve a problem, or simply wish the passenger a Happy Birthday," said spokesman Dan Landson.
Flight attendants and gate agents access these Giving information was impractical when they started wearing mobile devices. "This is doubly compulsory, accepting payments for on-board purchases and tracking which passengers are entitled to pay for themselves like a drink or a meal," said Robert Mann, New York Airline Consultant.
At United, these devices can also spend immediate compensation for problems on board like a broken entertainment system Eat without food or drink, frequent flyer miles, or any other form of credit, Jojo said.
Airlines also say they are trying to find a balance between a welcome personal touch and something too personal. What one traveler considers to be a good service, another could find invasive.
"Nobody wants to feel like Big Brother is watching us," said Scot Hornick, partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman.
This is less worrying Data-driven programs that are less visible but still have an impact can be felt by passengers – literally, in the case of a tool that Delta developed for its pilots.
The app provides information on weather hazards such as turbulence, lightning or hail. It's more accurate and easier to interpret than it was possible for pilots after takeoff, said Tom Staigle, Delta's technical director.
Even if the crew of an aircraft does not change its course to avoid turbulence, it helps prevent knowing injuries and limit the time passengers need to sit with straps attached, said Staigle.
Other vehicles say they are mining data on aircraft damage and workers
Efforts to Analyze The causes of avoidable aircraft damage, such as collisions with vehicles at the airport, may not sound like something that should be important to a passenger. But this type of damage often leads to cancellation, unless the airline can quickly change another aircraft, which still causes a delay, Mann said.
"It is very expensive and disturbing and completely avoidable," he said
. United began working with data protection professionals at the University of New Haven in 2015 on a data visualization initiative. The students worked on projects such as mapping gangs' influence in Mexico or criminal activity in West Haven, Connecticut.
But Michael Quiello, United's vice president of corporate security, said he sees the same techniques could be used to help support the airline's security team in tackling workplace accidents and aircraft damage. The Goal: Link all information related to these incidents and present them visually so that employees can identify incidents or links.
Incident-preventable aircraft damage has dropped 25 percent since 2015 According to United, injuries have dropped 13 percent
The airline had recorded and issued reports of damage and injuries long before the data visualization program began. But when the information was listed in a spreadsheet, it was harder for employees to figure out what that meant, said DeGiovanni of United's corporate security team.
Southwest has taken a similar approach to linking security data and presenting it more easily. "Don Carter, a Southwest Security and Protection Manager."
"It makes us seemingly tied together and looking for connections," Carter said.
He writes that to work with reducing work-related accidents and minor incidents such as misconduct that can contribute to greater dangers.
While profits are real, the underlying idea of mapping events to clusters or trends is hardly new.
Industry experts said computing performance improvements and the platforms that airlines use to display the data in an interactive, easy-to-read manner would probably have helped the idea.
"It's not that the data does not exist, but instead of calling a colleague in IT and saying that he can make the report, he's on the priority list at # 78, you can do it yourself." said Hornick, consultant Oliver Wyman.
Airlines too easy There's more opportunity to capture data in real time, whether it's through aircraft or mobile devices, which a growing percentage of people carry when scanning bags, servicing, or working with customers.
"When you collect more data this is granular and in real time … you start to see more, and you see it sooner," said Mann.