Many airlines talk of being customer-centric and using technology to put the passenger at the centre of the experience, but Aeroflot has invested heavily to achieve this aim.
From the first moment of researching a journey using the internet or even a mobile-based app, through to mobile boarding passes, flight alerts and inflight connectivity, Aeroflot has invested heavily and successfully in recent years. In a recent survey conducted by management consultancy Bain & Co, Aeroflot was recognised as one of the world’s leading airlines in the digital arena.
As with many businesses, the IT landscape has been completely overhauled over the last decade.
For Aeroflot this means that 100 percent of its business operations have now been digitalised. During this process, the airline never forgot that the customer should be the key beneficiary.
Regular passengers will have recognised how the airline’s website was upgraded along with the mobile app last year.
There was a refreshed design, new functions including your next flight on the screen, one-click check-in and one-click payment, scanning and saving bank cards and document scan. Local currency exchange rates and weather at destination point are available. The latest innvation is that passengers can book airport transfers via the website, guaranteeing a fixed fare based on the destination and vehicle class and with passengers met upon arrival at their destination airport with the service including free baggage transfer, and available across Aeroflot route network.
The Aeroflot website has been the biggest online store on the Russian internet since 2014 with over a third of tickets sold online. This volume has only been achievable through the digitalization improvement and the introduction of extra online services.
Aeroflot’s website allows clients not only to book and pay tickets, but also reserve accommodation, rent a car, make an insurance and medical policy and buy Aeroexpress ticket to or from the airport in Moscow. Purchasing virtual gift certificates is a popular service. Finally, digital functions are accessible to visually impaired customers and specific special needs services can be booked online.
The range of online services is constantly expanding. Special meals can be ordered online via website or mobile app. Other options like extra baggage fee payment, paid cabin seat selection and service class upgrade are coming by the end of 2018.
Services are available in nine versions of webpages, including major European and Asian languages, helping Aeroflot to be twice recognised Favourite International Airline in China by Flyer Award. The importance of this is shown by the fact that foreign travellers account for one in four unique visits on the website.
Aeroflot now offers clients both iOS and Android-based mobile apps with similar functionality to desktop and as a result has seen over 11 percent of sales made online.
The technology doesn’t stop with the booking. Together with Sheremetyevo airport, Aeroflot is working to introduce paperless boarding pass to facilitate pre-flight procedures. Passengers can use self-service kiosks to check-in at Terminal D and the same service will be available at the new Terminal B.
Aeroflot’s modern fleet is equipped with Wi-Fi which continues to be upgraded to provide the fastest internet service and also lower the cost to the passenger,
The whole of the wide-body fleet is Wi-Fi enabled with the Lufthansa BoardСonnect streaming service and the program will be extended to 81 aircraft in total, including the A320 and A321 aircraft.
Aeroflot is the only Russian airline providing such a service and the development of catering and other services, including the introduction of e-catalogues, online payment for goods and services, development of entertainment services and the provision of inflight information are all planned.
The new aircraft and the investment in them allows the airline to have new in seat widescreen monitors containing multichannel video/audio programs in wide-body fleet cabins, and the B737 business class cabins are similarly equipped, with economy class passengers on these aircraft able to access information and entertainment content with their mobile devices connecting via inflight Wi-Fi. In addition, on many medium-haul flights, business class passengers are offered Premier IFE tablets.
The inflight entertainment is state of the art.
The B777s are fitted with Thales i5000; the, A330s with Panasonic eX2 and the B737s with eX1 and eXW. Programming – which is updated monthly – includes more than 200 international and Russian films, a dedicated children’s channel, a wide assortment of music (more than 3,000 tracks) and television programs, etc. Aerogroup LLC is its content provider and content comes from Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks, Sony, Paramount, Walt Disney, NBC Universal, Pixar, Miramax, New Line Cinema, MGM, Marvel, HBO, BBC and many other European, Asian and Russian production companies. Music selections are also updated monthly based on passenger popularity. The entertainment program is accessible for deaf and visually impaired passengers, with many films subtitled and audio described.
This year the airline plans to roll out a new interface on its B777, A330 and B737 aircraft, as well as offering power bank service onboard. Medium-term plans include the roll-out of Live-TV on IFE aboard A320 and A350 family aircraft.
For passengers, Aeroflot’s investment in technology is a strategy which will pay dividends.