The newest hand held devices used by the airline crew has quite a bit of information about you. Just for starters, your date of birth, home town, marital status, how much you paid for the ticket, your past beverage purchases, your travel patterns, even your last review of your flights with the airline.
Now, the airline says they are using it to “enhance” your flying experience. They say they want to improve customer service. They want to congratulate you on achieving mileage milestones with their airline. They want to know if you want your “usual” drink. They want to wish you “Happy Birthday” with a bottle of champagne. NOT!!!!
I say that is a little too invasive. With privacy concerns on sites like Facebook, and other sites using personal data, why would I welcome this use of my personal data? Many people just want some degree of anonymity once they board a flight. I just want good service, a safe and quiet flight, and a minimum of interaction with the flight attendants.
United has an app for its flight attendants with so much functionality, they decided not to turn all of it ON!!! This “tool” can show the passengers five previous flights, and if they were good, or bad. Looks like stalking to me!
On the positive side of the equation, flight attendants would know if you have a tight connection, keep track of unaccompanied minors, or if you need a wheelchair. Would they use it to make instant rewards or refunds for a spilled rink or a lost meal?
Another big concern is that their highest status passengers would get the best treatment. Perhaps if I were one of those, I would be more supportive. But I think everyone in the same class of service should be treated the SAME!
And as with any system where employees can make remarks, the dreaded “bad” customer mark next to your name might stay with you for a long time. I know we had codes for difficult patients when I was working. Do you think they know who the felons, and child molesters are?
United’s new system has a color-coded seat map showing status—a black seat is a Global Services frequent flier, United’s top tier. The seat map has icons for wheelchairs and lap children. A seat with a dog face means the customer has a pet onboard. Million-mileage levels are also depicted—seat 7C has “3M” on it for 3 million miles.
You can just imagine what they will do if you become rather “difficult” or “belligerent”. And I really do not care if they address me by name. While they do in First and Business, all that matters to me is the quality of service.
Perhaps to maximize profits, the airline wants to offer drinks, duty free goods, or other gifts to buy. They would know if you are a good customer. Maybe they would know that I want to be left alone!
The airlines think we like this more personalized approach. I am not sure I am ready to embrace it at this point.