July 14, 2024

How tech can tackle post-COVID-19 challenges

Gabriela Micu-Motroc, of Retail inMotion, discusses how technology can make the difference as airlines restart inflight service…/strong>

Our main target right now is to support the safe return to flying for both crew and passengers whilst also ensuring customers can experience the necessities and luxuries of the inflight experience. To achieve this we have developed and deployed a number of key technologies, which inherently support the minimisation of crew engagement with passengers at all stages of the journey.

Pre-Select/Pre-Order solutions, for example, enable passengers to select their preferred meal (Pre-Select) and purchase food/beverage and duty-free items (Pre-Order) in advance of their flight. The solution can be seamlessly embedded within the airline’€™s flight booking and check-in processes, as well as being delivered through a standalone e-commerce platform that’€™s fully branded to the airline requirements. Passengers pay by credit card or our proprietary payment gateway (vPay), which then passes the transactions directly to the chosen payment acquirer of the airline.

Once confirmed, the order is sent electronically to the logistics operation of the airline. Our bar packing module (vPack), ensures every order is packed, labelled and loaded correctly for the flight, ensuring an optimal passenger experience as well as reducing interaction time between crew and passengers inflight. The crew can use their mobile device to view the pre-orders on an interactive seatmap, together with any specific passenger information.

An extension to this are Order2Seat services using onboard wifi and integration with the IFE provider. Passenger can browse, select and pay for products and services directly from their own device with minimal cabin crew interaction whether it is from the food and beverage menu onboard or products from a third party. The airline has full control and visibility of the retail experience onboard and when the passenger places an order, an automatic notification is delivered to the crew mobile device for delivery only.

During the pandemic, contactless payments have become the cornerstone of a safe and convenient retail experience and inflight, as payment technologies have advanced, we have evolved our VPay solution to accept all payment types. All the hardware and software needed is fully contactless enabled, so this too helps passengers feel confident while helping airlines to control and manage transaction limits, fraud management and refund processes, as needed, in a contactless way too.

As transactions are completed onboard, the details can be automatically saved to the passenger’€™s records and are immediately accessible after the flight. This also supports the move to a paperless cabin with its environmental benefits, and makes the sales process more efficient so more passengers can be served, quicker.

The top priority now as we look to aviation recovery, must be to support fast implementation of tech solutions, and our efforts are focused on exactly that to support the safe return to flying for both crew and passengers, while safeguarding and enhancing the passenger experience onboard.