Today’s world is changing rapidly. At Air France-KLM, innovation and technology are two strong pillars in the integration of sustainability in the customer experience.
In the context of both fast evolution of the consumers’ needs and the digital revolution, we focus on the digitization of our services. This way we can provide our customers and employees with the right information at the right time.
The airlines’ applications serve the request of customers using primarily mobile phones for getting in touch with our companies. With close to 6.6 million downloads, the Air France app assists customers, helps them personalize their trip and save time thanks to digital innovations that passengers can discover at different stages of their trip: faster check-in with the “Scan passport” pictograph, additional payment methods, real-time airport access indications, multi-transport itinerary with geo-localization, guided airport tour to the boarding gate, and real-time baggage tracking. In 2019, KLM had 961,195 monthly active users of its mobile app.
The Air France media app allow travelers to download a variety of magazines and newspapers before departure. The Air France Play entertainment app offers more than 160 French and international press publications, more than 50 videos to watch during their flight, and a selection of music playlists.
Our employees are provided with digital tools on their tablet or computer, which allows them to offer the best service to our passengers. Operational staff also benefits from this digital trend. In a turnaround, many people and departments work together to ensure aircraft departure on time. A digital platform, accessible via phone or tablet, facilitates communication between departments and helps them to work as a team.
Our aircraft mechanics have the possibility to access information through digital channels “on the spot”. Firstly, this means no more paper manuals to carry around, secondly, it provides guidance and troubleshooting options for onsite support, and thirdly, it allows a paperless debrief.
More and more, our customers demand greater transparency, responsiveness and personalization. The different social media channels of Air France and KLM enable to create a strong digital link with the customers to be informed in real-time through their preferred communication channel. A 24/7 online service in respectively 9 and 10 languages is offered through WeChat, Whatsapp, Messenger, Twitter, KakaoTalk, Facebook and LINE (KLM). For a simplified user experience, a dedicated module has been implemented to enable payment on these platforms.
Within Air France, 265 agents in ten call centers answer customers questions. Air France is present on 12 platforms in 76 countries. In total, Air France can process up to 60,000 messages per month, taking advantage of its strategy of complementarity between agents and chatbots.
The Air France and KLM chat bots provide customers with quick and personalized answers to a wide range of questions throughout their journey: such as on luggage, Flying Blue, existing reservations, assistance in case of disturbances. In 2019, chat bots processed 18% of customer requests on social networks in real time, allowing agents to focus on more complex requests.
Within KLM, around 350 social media agents made all digital conversations possible with support of AI : over 50% of all social media replies of KLM were being answered with help of this technique. Furthermore, the KLM app has almost a million monthly active users.
A STREAMLINED TRAVEL EXPERIENCE THANKS TO INNOVATIONS
To ensure a simpler, streamlined and personalized travel experience, we constantly improve every aspect of the customer journey by offering the latest innovation: from the biometric boarding pass to connectivity on board. To reduce waiting time at the airport, Air France is testing the biometric boarding pass solution based on facial recognition at baggage drop-off points and boarding gates, while respecting the use of personal data.
Air France has been gradually equipping its fleet with connectivity solutions to improve customer experience: Air France customers can access Wi-Fi on board the Boeing 787s and Wi-Fi is gradually being installed on board the redesigned Airbus A330s and Boeing 777. The company has been gradually implementing connectivity solutions throughout its medium-haul fleet since the beginning of 2019 and has set a goal to have the entire Air France fleet, excluding regional aircraft, equipped by the end of 2020. The new connectivity service, called Air France CONNECT, gives access to Wi-Fi on our clients’s own devices (smartphone, tablet, computer).
As part of its commitment to researching new in-flight uses for its customers, Air France tested Li-Fi technology during a flight, in partnership with Latécoère and Ubisoft. The Li-Fi infrastructure generates a completely stable multimedia data exchange at a very high speed and very low latency; and a reduction in the aircraft’s weight and therefore its fuel consumption, due to replacing copper cables with fibre optic technology.
MRO LAB : MAINTENANCE INNOVATION
As an airline Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance have developed a unique portfolio of know-how reflected in the development of a wide range of value-adding innovations.
The MRO Lab is a program that regroups innovative and high value-added solutions. Specially tailored to the challenges of aircraft maintenance, the innovations are the fruit of continuous development aimed at satisfying the requirements of airline operating performance. Developed in-house, then tested and approved on Air France and KLM fleet, these innovations benefit AFI KLM E&M customers by optimizing fleet performance.
New places of innovation are opening up such as The MRO Lab Factory, a place inspired by Fablabs, where we can prototype new parts and new tools using, for example, 3D printing or laser cutting. These new places also make it possible to train our employees in the use of these new technologies.
AFI KLM E&M presented some its innovations during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in June 2019. Visitors were able to examine the augmented reality (AR) training developed for Boeing 777 Practical Training, an app for the Microsoft HoloLens which can be used to train engineers on normal and faulty behaviors of several components. Systems like the air-conditioning and equipment cooling are explained in AR and there is no need for a real aircraft anymore. Basically, you bring the aircraft to the classroom.
Major innovations, such as our Prognos tool, now fully operational on several aircraft, have been developed. We are now able to predict failures on some of the components of the A380, A 320 and 787 aircraft by using the big data tools available on these new generation aircraft. More developments are being done on new aircraft types and new systems.
Partnerships with startups allow us to develop new solutions for our customers and our employees. More innovations are detailed on our website.