British Airways has issued its crew with Apple's iPad tablet in a drive to personalise the service you receive on its flights.
The iPad -- running the Enhanced Service Platform app seen below -- replaces the pages upon pages of paper that frequent flyers will have seen the crew poring over in-flight.
That's the flight manifest, which has various bits of information about each passenger, including frequent flyer status (Silver, Gold and so on), seat number, special meal requests, onward connections, and so on.
The very latest electronic version of each flight's manifest will be downloaded to the iPad wirelessly over 3G before the plane departs. We're fairly certain that the iPad will then be put into flight safe mode before being switched off for taxi, take-off and landing...
British Airways tells us that the new iPads will "enable cabin crew to have prior awareness of customer preferences and a greater understanding of each customer’s previous travel arrangements, allowing them to offer a truly bespoke, personalised service."
We hope that leads to increased recognition of high-tier Qantas Frequent Flyers and other oneworld alliance travellers, with personalised greeting from the lead cabin crew member and especially solicitious service.
British Airways has more plans in store for its iPads, it seems. Bill Francis, British Airways' head of inflight customer experience, told us: "the iPad is already allowing us to offer a more personalised onboard service, but the possibilities for future development are endless."
A hundred BA cabin crew currently have iPads, and the airline expects to roll the system out to its senior crew in the next few months. No word yet on whether Angry Birds will also be installed for top-tier frequent flyers to play during on-the-ground flight delays. Now that would be a "truly bespoke, personalised service".