SAS, KLM, IBM, and Finnair on using AI and augmented reality to disrupt airline experiences

The Drum has partnered with IBM iX to create a series of films during Mobile World Congress (MWC) exploring how mobile is driving disruption across businesses.

On day three of the show, The Drum spoke with Rachel Zeeman, senior consultant, Apple and IBM partnership at IBM, Liesbeth Oudkerk, VP of digital transformation at KLM, Tero Valkiala, head of digital at Finnair, Ashraf Hoseini, manager of mobile solutions/EFB admin at SAS, and Klaus Eggert Hansen, air-purser and performance supporter at SAS to discover how the travel industry is digitally reinventing itself through emerging technologies and the pivotal role its employees are playing in the digital reinvention.

Rachel Zeeman of IBM spoke about how its Passenger Plus app is empowering flight attendants to enhance the customer flight experience by tackling flight delays and other inconveniences in real-time.

“It allows them to be notified anytime a delay occurs and go up to that passenger and actually re-book them on the next flight,” said Zeeman. “We’re also using personality insights that allows the flight attendant to understand how the passenger will react to that delay and really have a personalised conversation with them."

KLM’s Liesbeth Oudkertk's digital reinvention strategy is to put its “employees at the core” of everything they do by encouraging them to be creative and innovative. For Oudkertk, this involves using a mixture of data and cognitive applications to deliver relevant information to its employees at the right time.

Finnair’s Tero Valkiala spoke about the benefits of using artificial intelligence to support employees in making faster and better decisions. He also mentioned the potential for using augmented reality in airplane maintenance.

For Ashraf Hoseini of SAS, travel companies need to adapt to the digital age as travellers have “higher expectations” in terms of wanting access to data that could be useful to them.

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