British Airways has started issuing Apple iPads to its cabin crew. It has already given iPad 2 to hundred of its senior cabin crew and targets to give tablets to 1,800 of its senior cabin crew by the end of 2011. These iPads will be used by the cabin crew to have a wireless access to information on passengers, safety manuals, flight timetables and travel preferences of passengers. The paper passenger list which the cabin crew currently uses will also be replaced by the tablet. Cabin crew would also be able to use iPads to inform the ground staff immediately regarding issues like passenger’s vegetarian meal is not yet loaded onto the plane. Apple iPads are becoming popular elsewhere in service industry, like Intercontinental Hotels issuing iPads to its concierge teams.
Now it’s time for British Airways to use iPads. This scheme is being piloted to selected flights but it seems there’s a bright way in the future as it is a great way to handle passenger management. Replacement of long scroll of paper with iPads is a definite improvement in airline facilities. The iPad will allow crew to identify where each of its passenger is sitting, whether all the passengers have boarded, detailed information of each customer, their Executive club status, special meal requirement if any, timetables for forward flights and a great way of dealing with previous travel arrangements.
British Airways trial of giving iPads to 100 of its crew members came few months after the Alaska Airlines announced giving of iPads to pilots with a motive to replace printed manuals in cockpit. Presently, pilots on each aircraft of the network now have an iPad only after the successful trial of checking if device can actually replace the flight documentation. Each device will be equipped with PDF versions of system and performance manuals, reference cards and other aircraft documents. The airlines also said that it would be easy to use manuals as there will be hyperlinks and quick navigation between the pages.
The iPads have all the information about the passengers on a flight and the information is updated immediately before the departure when list of boarded passengers is uploaded to the device. British Airways said that the iPads are getting a good feedback already from crew as well as customers. Now the airline is looking forward to roll out more devices to all of its senior cabin crew in the coming months.