How the IBM-Apple Partnership Is Helping Air Canada

IBM-AppleOn July 15, 2014 IBM and Apple announced their IBM MobileFirst for iOS partnership to develop 100 apps in verticals such as travel, health care, retail, and energy. A little over a year later the partnership had reached its goal. Today the partnership continues to develop apps – both custom ones and those that could be used by multiple clients.

One customer which has benefited hugely is Air Canada which uses the MobileFirst Passenger+ app. The Passenger+ app is used by 1,300 Air Canada service managers on iPads leased by IBM. A flight attendant using the app can see which passengers are traveling with babies, require special meals, or are entitled to special perks. The app also provides information on flight delays and their impact on passengers. In addition, a flight attendant can use the app to find solutions such as booking a flight for a passenger who is most probably going to miss a connecting flight.

The Passenger+ App at Air Canada

Building an app such as the Passenger+ app starts off with a three-day workshop at Apple’s Cupertino campus. Workshops are attended by IT people, designers from IBM and Apple, managers and most importantly end users – the flight attendants. The end users ensure that they bring their unique view of what they need from an app.

Air Canada is currently in phase 1 of a three-phase implementation of the app. Now the app contains all the information in the passenger information list (PIL), which is basically the big sheaf of printer paper flight attendants normally use to manage the flight. Air Canada is in the process of adding more data to the PIL and eventually updating it in real time.

The second phase of the implementation will have features similar to a CRM system which will enable the flight crew to identify VIP passengers and offer them personalized services. Finally, the third phase will incorporate mobile payments, allowing the airline to sell add-on products and services such as premium wines, noise-canceling headphones or first-class upgrades to passengers.

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