Dutch airline KLM has expanded its Facebook Messenger chat service to Japan and South Korea, enabling users in the two countries to speak directly to service agents in either Japanese, Korean or English during the booking process.

While travellers can still message the group’s Facebook page using messenger, this pilot service – one of the first between Facebook Messenger and an airline – will be accessible on KLM’s website. The airline already offers this functionality to customers in six countries in Europe, and KLM also has a non-Messenger based direct chat service on klm.com.

It’s important to note that this service differs from KLM’s recently launched Messenger chat bot, as users will be able to speak to a member of staff as opposed to an artificial intelligence.

According to the airline, customers frequently use Facebook Messenger to get in touch with questions. The new functionality means users won’t have to navigate to Messenger separately from their booking page in order to speak to someone, but will still be able to have a record of their conversation on Messenger for future reference. Customers can access the chat function using a “chat now” button that will appear on relevant pages on KLM’s website when an agent is available.

“The introduction of Messenger customer chat on klm.com is a new step in KLM’s social media strategy,” said Pieter Groeneveld, senior vice-president of digital for Air France KLM. “The integration of Messenger customer chat into klm.com makes it even easier to have a personal conversation with KLM, which can be reread and continued at any given time or place.”

The Dutch carrier has been stepping up its social media customer service options significantly in recent months. In addition to the new chat bot, which it launched last month, KLM has also begun offering travellers flight information via direct message on Twitter as well as via mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

Customers in China, meanwhile, are also now able to use mobile payment solution WeChat Pay – a payment option connected to China’s messaging service WeChat – when booking tickets and purchasing ancillaries.

While the airline hasn’t specified where else the service may be extended to, it has said the current pilot “will serve to guide further roll-out of the service in the future”.