Air Canada video transcript
Interviewees: Patrice Ouellette - Air Canada, Director, Customer Solutions and Innovation
Rob Ranieri - IBM, Travel and Transportation, Global Business Services Division
TEXT: SMART IS...innovating the customer travel experience
TEXT: Air Canada runs over 1400 daily flights between the United States and Canada
Serving over 32 million passengers on more than 200 domestic routes
And providing international service to over 170 destinations on five continents
Patrice Ouellette: Customer service has to be at the forefront, because this is what we are. We're
servicing customers. Our customer baseline is changing a lot. There's more people traveling. There's
different type of passengers as well. The innovation team really started as a grassroots initiative.
Rob Ranieri: it was really those people at the frontline that recognized the need to innovate in order to
be competitive in the marketplace.
Patrice Ouellette: We really were trying to put ourselves in the shoes of the customers and said, "Why
are we doing this? Why is that process like this? Why is it taking so long?" And basically what can we do
to innovate and make it simpler for them.
So it started with our Kiosk where we had like a strong baseline but also we did the web. But then we
said, "How can we really like push this to a new level" and this is where we started to think about mobile.
Through one icon, the customer is able to know about his flight status to check-in, to get his electronic
boarding pass on his mobile. It's all integrated and this is because of our unique platform that we have in
We have put in place a multi-channel framework where it's located at one place, it's on one platform and it
presents itself differently depending who is calling the applications. The platforms and the rule engine
make it like so intelligent that if you were scheduled on a flight and your flight's delayed, we will tell you
not only that the flight's delayed, by the way here is your new flight.
It doesn't matter if you are on your mobile or if you are on the web or if you are at the Kiosk, we are going
reach you and we are going to tell you the change. And also, it's real time. So he sees it at the same
time as our agents or employees are seeing it.
So with our multi-channel platform, we have reduced our check-in cost by 80%. What used to take us six
to eight weeks to push like a new release, now we are able to do in 72 hours. Everything that has to do
with development in testing, we at least saved 50% of the time that we used to deal with.
Rob Ranieri: The best airlines in the world, the ones that customers are going to gravitate towards are
the ones that can anticipate their needs and really provide them what they want before they even ask for
it. And that's the beauty of a smarter airline.
Patrice Ouellette: It was easy to select IBM. They have like the right people; they have the people that
are passionate, people that think of innovation like us.
Rob Ranieri: I'm very proud when I overhear a customers in the airport really talk about what we have
done and how it's made their travel better and how they're just amazed that we know exactly what they
are looking for.
Patrice Ouellette: When we are providing them with a new innovation or a new product or new
information, we want to be able to exceed their expectation. And for us, that's what a smarter airlines
Text: The Air Canada solution is based on:
IBM WebSphere® Application Server
IBM Consumer Device Services
IBM Kiosk Manager
IBM N series full-service travel kiosks
IBM Global Business Services® - Application Innovation Services
Using insights from analytics and an SOA infrastructure, Air Canada has created many self-service airline firsts.
- Instrumented: Air Canada customers have the choice of Web, kiosk or mobile device self-service to access a broad array of information and services.
- Interconnected: Leveraging the same SOA infrastructure as the airline's other self-service channels, the solution detects in real-time when flight status or itineraries change, and automatically notifies the customer..
- Intelligent: Rules-based intelligence at the core of the solution ensures that notification messages are not only up-to-date, but sent via the appropriate medium (text vs. email) based on the nature of the message.