British Airways buys 15,000 iPhone XR units for cabin crew

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 21
As part of a major investment in customer relations enhancements, British Airways on Wednesday announced plans to outfit its 15,000 cabin crew employees with an iPhone XR loaded with personalized in-flight service apps.

iPhone XR


According to the airline, each of the 15,000 phones will contain a selection of apps designed to provide travelers with additional assistance during flights.

Crew can use their iPhone XR to access customer information, including previous flights and meal preferences, enabling on-the-spot care and service personalization. British Airways employee Bradley Smith said the device is already proving useful at serving customer needs.

"Recently, when a customer realized that he had forgotten to order a special meal, he was really impressed when I quickly took out the phone, logged onto ba.com and ordered a meal for his return journey - all within a matter of minutes in the middle of the flight," Smith said.

The iPhone XR rollout is part of a 6.5 billion pound investment in upgrading the airline's customer service experience and follows a pilot program that equipped senior crew with iPads. Whether the tablet-based initiative will continue is unknown.

British Airways also relies on iPad at Heathrow Airport, where customer service agents use the device to answer customer queries. The airline on Wednesday announced an additional multi-million pound investment in training for airport staff.

Air carriers around the world are turning to Apple products and services in efforts to modernize operations. United was among the first when it replaced bulky flight manuals with 11,000 iPads in 2011. The same airline equipped more than 23,000 flight attendants with iPhone 6 Plus units to handle onboard transactions and view internal documents.

More recently, Delta in June became the first airline to adopt Apple's Business Chat feature to interface with customers via iMessage.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,269member
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    d_2d_2 Posts: 58member
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Perhaps they bought them for something like $400 each in that kind of quantity, as they certainly did not pay $749 each ... assuming usd conversion from pounds ... and thus they have a first rate device that their crews can easily use (big screen) for a longer term (latest spec internals).
    spock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Ignore - post submitted 2x
    edited August 21
  • Reply 4 of 17
    The iPhone XR is significantly more durable than previous iPhone generations.  iPads are to bulky for their intended use on a plane.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17
    TomETomE Posts: 149member
    They may actually get the next generation XR.  You can be sure they got a reasonable deal. Great News for Stockholders.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,655unconfirmed, member
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Because they can afford it.

    Makes me wish Apple took iPod more serious for restaurants and retail.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 549member
    I’m curious to know what back end systems BA might be using?  SAP and IBM made a big deal out of their convergence with iOS on enterprise applications.  Of course, BA and other companies using these systems might not be willing to share too much info on this as it could be seen and a competitive advantage.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    d_2 said:
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Perhaps they bought them for something like $400 each in that kind of quantity, as they certainly did not pay $749 each ... assuming usd conversion from pounds ... and thus they have a first rate device that their crews can easily use (big screen) for a longer term (latest spec internals).
    That response does not make any sense. If Apple was offering a big volume discount, then a big volume discount on the same number of... let's say the latest iPad mini with celular... would still cost BA a whole lot less than the same number of iPhone XR with the same volume discount, for a device that is more practical as a hand-held customer service device.

    Using your example of a volume discount of 46.5% off, BA would pay $282 for each iPad mini with cellular (from $529), instead of $400 for each iPhone XR (from $749). That is over $1.7 million difference.
    edited August 22 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    The iPhone XR is significantly more durable than previous iPhone generations.  iPads are to bulky for their intended use on a plane.
    I think that the iPad mini with cellular is perfectly sized as a hand-portable / jacket-pocketable customer service device that can be carried by cabin crew.

    The screen size provides more practical real-estate for apps used to check off the passenger manifest as they board, update the cabin maintenance log on the go, capture reportable incidents using the rear camera, do all their on the pre-flight and in-flight admin, check passengers into connecting flights, use multiple apps side by side, and a whole lot more on a hand-portable device that has the same processor internals as the XR but has a more usable 7.9" screen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,781member
    Flytrap said:
    d_2 said:
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Perhaps they bought them for something like $400 each in that kind of quantity, as they certainly did not pay $749 each ... assuming usd conversion from pounds ... and thus they have a first rate device that their crews can easily use (big screen) for a longer term (latest spec internals).
    That response does not make any sense. If Apple was offering a big volume discount, then a big volume discount on the same number of... let's say the latest iPad mini with celular... would still cost BA a whole lot less than the same number of iPhone XR with the same volume discount, for a device that is more practical as a hand-held customer service device.

    Using your example of a volume discount of 46.5% off, BA would pay $282 for each iPad mini with cellular (from $529), instead of $400 for each iPhone XR (from $749). That is over $1.7 million difference.
    Actually, it’s your response that doesn’t make sense. 

    The problem with your argument is that you assume you know better than BA when it comes to the needs of its cabin crew, which of course you don’t.  

    You also assume sure that the main driver behind the decision is money, which it wasn’t, or they could have just given everyone a cheap Android phone. 

    You also assume that Apple would be willing to offer the same discount on all devices.

    Yup, usual problem: mistaking assumptions for facts. 

    spock1234tmaywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    Handy, but privacy?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,883member
    Explains why it is taking my work so long to get a batch
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,883member
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Because that would be a good way to get your staff to crack the shits about your miserly ways. The XR is a good compromise.
    edited August 22 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    I wasn’t aware that airlines still care about customers and quality of service...  :D

    There might have been better ways to use that money to make for a better experience. “How to be nice to customer” courses maybe. Or “A smile once in a while won’t kill anyone” stickers.

    Or maybe start by treating employees fairly by paying them a decent salary.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 841member
    Flytrap said:
    The iPhone XR is significantly more durable than previous iPhone generations.  iPads are to bulky for their intended use on a plane.
    I think that the iPad mini with cellular is perfectly sized as a hand-portable / jacket-pocketable customer service device that can be carried by cabin crew.

    The screen size provides more practical real-estate for apps used to check off the passenger manifest as they board, update the cabin maintenance log on the go, capture reportable incidents using the rear camera, do all their on the pre-flight and in-flight admin, check passengers into connecting flights, use multiple apps side by side, and a whole lot more on a hand-portable device that has the same processor internals as the XR but has a more usable 7.9" screen.
    Just because you have large enough hands to think the Mini is hand-portable doesn't mean the majority of people do?  There are smaller men and women that can't fit this in a pocket or hold it with one hand while moving through, or using the device while in a tight cabin. I can use a mini one handed, but feel more in control with my XS Max when holding or using one handed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,269member
    Weird. Why not lower tier iPhones or iPads and spend half as much?
    Because they can afford it.

    Makes me wish Apple took iPod more serious for restaurants and retail.
    Actually this raises a better point: why not iPods? You’re not going to be using cellular data in the air. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Flytrap said:
    The iPhone XR is significantly more durable than previous iPhone generations.  iPads are to bulky for their intended use on a plane.
    I think that the iPad mini with cellular is perfectly sized as a hand-portable / jacket-pocketable customer service device that can be carried by cabin crew.

    The screen size provides more practical real-estate for apps used to check off the passenger manifest as they board, update the cabin maintenance log on the go, capture reportable incidents using the rear camera, do all their on the pre-flight and in-flight admin, check passengers into connecting flights, use multiple apps side by side, and a whole lot more on a hand-portable device that has the same processor internals as the XR but has a more usable 7.9" screen.
    No, please let it be the iPad Air.
    watto_cobra
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