A beginner’s guide to developing an app
In my role at Scandinavia Airlines (SAS), I directly supervise and coordinate activities of the flight attendants to ensure they are familiar with operational procedures and functions. I am always on the lookout for new industry trends and developments that will inspire and empower our flight crew, and developing an app is an important part of that.
About 12 months ago, I was asked to travel to Cupertino to meet with IBM and Apple to assist in developing an IBM MobileFirst for iOS app to support our flight crews. This time, I was the one inspired and empowered as I was asked for input that would ultimately change how we engage with passengers.
The process for designing and developing an app began with the Apple/IBM design team first understanding a day in the life of the cabin crew at SAS. What struck me most was how enthusiastic everyone was. They listened to what everyone had to say and asked questions to really understand what the day-to-day of an airline flight attendant entailed, what some of the challenges were and where opportunities might exist.
Over the course of three days, the team came up with multiple ideas on how developing an app could simplify tasks and give us the tools to accommodate our frequent travelers in a better way. I often heard from my colleagues that they didn’t have all the information they needed to comply with new procedures and constantly changing duties. The design team immediately noted that we would create a solution that would give all employees access to the same information to avoid miscommunication to our passengers, while simultaneously allowing us to provide personalized services.
We talked about how beneficial it would be for the flight attendants to better understand the population that was traveling on that particular flight. Beyond knowing how many people were on board, if the flight crew had more detailed information, such as whether there were infants, unaccompanied minors or frequent travelers onboard and where they were seated, they could provide better and more personalized service to our passengers.
About four months after the design workshop, I was able to experiment with the WE FLY (Passenger+) app. I was beyond excited to see our ideas come to life, and what struck me the most was how tasks that were previously considered time-consuming were now so simple and quick.
Putting the customer first
With the WE FLY app on our iPad, passenger information is immediately in the hands of our flight attendants. They can easily locate where these customers are seated to initiate a conversation with them, such as, “Hello, I see you are traveling a lot with us, nice to have you back on board, please let us know if we can help with anything today.” And with the help from the WE FLY app, we can easily locate guests with short connections to reassure them they won’t miss their next flight: “I can see that it is a little narrow with time, but we have our eyes on you. We will land and be parked at gate B5, and your new flight departs from gate D2. You just go directly, they know you are coming.” These simple interactions go a long way with customers to show that we value and appreciate their business.
Just as we were greeted by IBM and Apple in Cupertino, we at SAS also like to meet our customers in a friendly manner, at eye level with a service that exceeds expectations. The iPad and WE FLY app helps us achieve that.