||VAWN HIMMELSBACH, Chic Savvy Travels
Let’s face it, air travel just isn’t a lot of fun anymore. Between mile-long queues at the airport, the delight of full-body scanners and oh-so-fun pat-downs, the possibility of being detained at customs for no apparent reason, and being crammed into uncomfortable seats on packed-to-capacity airplanes only to hang out on the tarmac for two hours — well, it’s all rather dehumanizing.
Add to that delays, missed connections and the stress of wondering whether your luggage will actually make it, it’s not surprising that air travel has become more about the destination than the journey.
Last week I was at a tech conference in San Francisco (after a lengthy delay at Toronto Pearson, of course) about social media for the enterprise. My ears perked up when Virgin America’s CEO took the stage and described the company’s vision for air travel, involving social media and mobile technologies.
Sure, social media is great for posting rants and raves, and companies are starting to use analytics to mine tweets, posts and blogs for “sentiment” to address customer complaints and reward loyal followers.
But Virgin America has plans to take this a step further. Imagine your seat-back television screen personally greets you and knows your likes and dislikes. And imagine, at 35,000 feet, a Virgin team member communicates with you over that screen about delays and missed connections — that your connecting flight is being held for you, or that you’ve been booked on the next available flight and your baggage is being transferred (with a map of the airport and gate number).
Admittedly, the Big Brother aspect of social media often creeps me out, but this is an example of how it could be used in an innovative way to dramatically improve the customer experience — something that is sorely needed in the airline industry.
Date Added: September 28, 2012 | Comments (0)
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