Following reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation was giving American Airlines a lot of grief over their frequent cancellation policies, the company has announced that they plan to give all their frontline crew members new iPhones and iPads for the airline’s upcoming 15-day strike.
The company that brought us the “If you don’t like it, fly Delta” marketing campaign is now giving its employees Apple products. American Airlines has made it known that it is going to give all of its frontline employees iPhone and iPad devices starting tomorrow, June 20th.
American Airlines wants to give all employees new Apple iPhones and iPads
Gary Leff 16. June 2021 American Airlines’ ever-impressive CIO (and former head of AAdvantage) Maya Leibman announced to employees today that the airline will replace the current mobile devices of all front-line and maintenance employees with new Apple mobile devices. Testing of these devices began today with agents at Washington National Airport (it seems that many new procedures are currently being tested at the airport). Maintenance is already getting new iPads, which is a priority because they used to carry multiple devices to operate different aircraft. It will take more time for pilots and flight attendants to see improvements. Here’s a hint:
Message from IT Director Maya Leibman One team, one technology platform for the enhancedline
Team members, Over the past year, we’ve seen how technology has helped us stay personally connected in countless ways, from distance learning in school to telemedicine appointments to online shopping. At American Airlines, we’ve also leveraged technology to quickly respond to emerging pandemic needs, including contactless capabilities at our kiosks and new communication channels through our mobile app. The year has undoubtedly brought many changes, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to our customers and our employees. With this in mind, we decided to bundle our mobile devices on the Apple iPhone and iPad. This next-generation technology will not only improve the experience for our customers and employees, but it will also allow our IT developers to create new applications on a single operating platform, Apple’s iOS. Much of our mobile frontline equipment has reached the end of its useful life. This is what you can expect when we replace these units:
- DCA airport employees began testing the iPhone 12s today. Once the devices have been successfully tested over the course of next year, they will be distributed to all agents so that they can provide services to customers anywhere in the terminal.
- The maintenance engineers have started using the 7th generation iPad. Generation to do most of their work. When this process is completed at the end of June, they will no longer need to carry two different tablets for different aircraft and events.
- Pilots will continue to use the iPad as an electronic flight record, which we will improve over time. We recently added a real-time weather application and a new turbulence application to the devices.
- The new e-tag for flight attendants and customer service tool will be the iPhone 12, and deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2022. The new devices will feature a custom payment accessory that allows for multiple forms of payment, including contactless payment.
We are excited about the benefits this new technology will bring us and we thank you for your commitment this summer as we continue to care for people on their journey through life. This is what a representative of the company told me: We are still working on the details of all devices and cellular service, but we can confirm that flight attendants’ devices will support 5G. The announcement comes two months after Delta announced that all of its flight attendant devices would be upgraded to 5G iPhone 12s. The latest technology is not great in itself, but for what it can do for you. The argument for consolidating the mechanics on a single unit is simple. Current aircraft seem to support what will happen to pilots in the near future. However, customer service representatives will be able to provide assistance for irregular flights from anywhere in the terminal, whether it’s a change of venue or a new ticket booking. This allows agents to be directed directly to gates where flights have major delays or cancellations – a mobile customer service, if you will. Whether this will work in practice remains to be seen, but that’s probably what the tests at nearby Washington airport are for. Ultimately, there are ways to use customer data to improve in-flight service, but I don’t know if American Airlines will go down that road. Why don’t we celebrate our clients’ birthdays? Some airlines allow customers to order special cakes. What about upgrades for empty seats? This problem could be solved on board the aircraft rather than relying on a gate agent who might be tempted to ignore this process to ensure an on-time departure. At one time, there was even a plan where customers could redeem their miles for in-flight upgrades. Before the pandemic, flight attendants could use their devices to compensate for service interruptions, but a year ago these tools were removed.
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