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Gatwick Airport launches Facebook Messenger chatbot

Gatwick Airport has launched a ‘Gatwick chatbot’ (referred to as Gail) on Facebook Messenger to provide passengers with easy access to flight information, flight specific notifications, and information on airport shops, restaurants and other facilities.

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As an international airport, Gatwick Airport is also planning to offer the service in different languages next year.

The AI-enabled chatbot provides easy access to information before and during a trip. For instance, passengers can simply type their destination, select their flight from a list and then receive real-time updates on the status of that flight.

Gatwick collaborated within the VINCI Airports network throughout the project and in particular with Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport in France, which launched its chatbot in October 2017. This collaboration helped benchmark what the chatbot could be used for, questions passengers might ask and the value of features such as ‘quick response’. Additional learnings so far include:

Quality of conversations – currently, the Gatwick chatbot understands and answers about 80% of the questions it receives and within a year the chatbots of both Lyon-Saint Exupéry and Gatwick are expected to reach a new level of understanding, reaching around 95% by actively learning from interactions with users.

Customer experience – the Gatwick chatbot takes the experience further by integrating restaurants so that passengers looking for somewhere to eat before their flight can use the chatbot to help them find a suitable restaurant. For example – by asking “Which restaurants have vegetarian options?” users will be presented with a list of options. Other chatbots in VINCI Airports’ network are likely to benefit from learnings based on this this feature.

Multi-channel access – while both the Gatwick and Lyon-Saint Exupéry’s chatbots are available on Facebook Messenger, the Gatwick chatbot will be tested on platforms such as WhatsApp and Apple Business Messenger, while Lyon has focused on web and mobile channels – an approach that will develop further knowledge and best-practice sharing.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Innovation at Gatwick, said:

Our passengers are at the core of everything we do and the aim of this AI-enabled chatbot is to make it easy for them to get airport and flight related information. We have only just rolled this service out on Facebook Messenger but we expect that it will become popular and the chatbot will learn rapidly using artificial intelligence as an increasing number of our passengers use it.

“More globally, experience across VINCI Airports’ network of 46 airports in 12 countries demonstrates that well-designed chatbots successfully engage passengers and can satisfy many of their needs. We believe there is significant potential for chatbots to facilitate, personalise and enrich each passenger’s end-to-end experience across multiple touchpoints.”

Gatwick

EasyJet launch face masks for children flying this summer as airline prepare to restart flights from Gatwick

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New comic book style ‘Lion’ and ‘Pilot’ face mask covers will be made available for free to children flying with easyJet this Summer

A limited edition run of the mask covers will be available on selected routes over the summer

Initiative follows an announcement by easyJet that a small number of flights will restart from 15 June with more to be restored by July

The airline is introducing a range of new measures to help ensure safety and wellbeing including the requirement for customers and crew to wear masks and enhanced aircraft cleaning and disinfection. 

 Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, has teamed up with easyJet to launch a new range of new comic book inspired face mask covers for young flyers.

The campaign follows an announcement by Europe’s leading airline that a small number of  flights will restart from 15 June with new health and safety measures in place including for all passengers, including children over six, to wear their own protective face masks whilst onboard at all times. The new comic book face mask covers have been designed to help ease the experience for both kids and parents.

Two character themed ‘Lion’ and ‘Pilot’ masks will be made available for free to children flying with easyJet from airports across Europe this summer.

The face mask covers don’t replace the need for a mask to be worn but have been designed as a covering to be worn over the top of a younger traveller’s own face mask. They can be taken home to keep and are washable for re-use.

Thousands of face mask covers are being produced as part of a limited edition run and will be available on selected routes across Europe.

Captain David Morgan, easyJet’s Director of Flight Operations commented:

“We have teamed up with a comic illustrator to create some bespoke children face masks covers as we know the airport environment could feel different and possibly daunting for younger travellers when flying initially resumes. So we hope these face mask covers help children enjoy flying with us over the summer and this makes things a little easier for parents too.”

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew remains our highest priority which is why, as well as requiring customers and crew to wear masks, we are implementing a number of measures enhancing safety at each part of the journey from aircraft disinfection to initially serving no food onboard. These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We look forward to welcoming our customers back onboard in June.”

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