The aviation industry is always looking at new ways to embrace technology to improve efficiencies and deliver better service to passengers. From United Airlines' brief flirtation with Microsoft's Zune, and American Airlines replacing big and bulky paper flight manuals with iPads, to Delta's more recent adoption of Microsoft's Surface 2 for its pilots and Lumia Windows Phones for its flight attendants, there are many examples of how devices have been put to use in the sky.
But airlines are also considering how such devices can improve things on the ground. Low-cost carrier flydubai is the latest such example, as Gulf Business reports.
flydubai is one of the region's rising stars with a fleet of 37 Boeing 737 jets, and a further 98 on order, as the company plans to rapidly expand its operations in the next few years. It offers affordable coach class tickets to dozens of destinations across Africa, Asia and Europe, with business class cabins on board some of its planes.
The airline is using Windows 8 tablets running a custom line-of-business app that connects to the company's backend services, developed in partnership with Microsoft Gulf. The devices have been deployed to help airport staff to speed up passenger check-in, and the devices are equipped with an integrated passport scanner, along with a printer to issue boarding passes.
No longer tethered to a desk, staff can roam the concourse and check passengers in for their flights on the spot, including helping them to choose their seats on the plane. The Windows 8 tablets and apps have helped the airline to reduce the amount of time spent on check-in to just two minutes per passenger.
Michael Mansour, Microsoft Gulf director of Apps and Innovation, said that the region's travel industry "is under increasing pressure to deliver improved quality of service while tackling productivity and workforce shortage challenges. The Windows 8 app developed for flydubai is a regional first, enabling staff to check in passengers on the go."
Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic Airways began a trial of Google Glass to help its staff to offer a more personalized service for its Upper Class passengers.