Emirates crew to get Windows 8 tablets

Emirates is to roll out new HP tablets to the 900-odd pursers across its network, for use as a customer service tool and to help identify and report on cabin crew members.

The carrier has signed an agreement to be the global launch customer of the HP ElitePad 900 business tablet, which officially launches in January and features the new Windows 8 interface.

The tablets will run KIS (Knowledge Driven Inflight Service) – a bespoke app designed and created by Emirates to help deliver “extraordinary customer service and experiences”.

Similar to the iPad initiative launched by British Airways last year (see online news November 9, 2011), the tablets will allow pursers to identify passengers, check meal preferences, carry out in-seat passenger upgrades using Skywards Miles, and record in-flight feedback.

Pursers will also be able to bring up details of cabin crew members on their flights, check which languages are spoken, and input crew reports.

Kevin Griffiths, senior vice president, cabin crew at Emirates, was keen to stress that the carrier has operated the KIS application since 2004, but that recent developments in tablet technology had allowed the airline to upgrade the service to a more portable device, enabling staff to take the tablets to the individual customer’s seat.

Griffiths said that among the uses of the new tablets would be the ability to inform Skywards members of miles that were close to expiring, and alerting passengers when emails were bouncing back.

Emirates will equip 100 of its pursers with the new tablets during December, with the rest being rolled out over the first four months of 2013.

Although the carrier now offers wifi internet connectivity on some services, Griffiths said the tablets would not initially be used to connect in-flight. Instead data will be downloaded onto the devices from three hours before departure, with any information recorded during the flight being automatically sent to Emirates’ headquarters upon landing.

Griffith’s also said the carrier would not go down the line of identifying passengers through images available on the internet, something British Airways has been trying as part of its ‘Know Me’ initiative (see online news July 2).

“We won’t go beyond what our customers feel comfortable with,” said Griffiths, adding that customer trust was key to the service being a success.

For more information visit emirates.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

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  • Dear BT,

    Thank you for the news, I did however bring this to attention and created a post the other day.

    Emirates to use HP Elite Pad & Windows 8

    joeash8 – 26/11/2012 20:27 GMT

    So EK has joined the tablet/iPad bandwagon. Does having a tablet on board result in an improved customer service experience? Have any BT travellers had a positive service experience resulting from having a tablet on board. Surely the technology is only as good as the person using it, so if the purser is in J/Y will the first class pax see any benefit? Or you have a similar scenario if you have a less than proactive purser.

  • Emirates’ cabin service has been on a constant decline over the past few years. I’ve witnessed this personally on several flights (and do not fly with them anymore) and reviews on Skytrax also confirm the trend.

    If this tablet results in the lazy cabin crew being disciplined and if necessary, dismissed, then that’s great. If it’s just another gimmick to trick passengers into believing that Emirates provides a premium service then I think passengers will see right through that.

    In my case, Emirates took 18 months to respond to my customer service complaint (their response was to apologise that I and my colleague felt disappointed, nothing else was said or offered). I now fly with Qatar, the best airline in the world for two years running.

    At the time of writing they still don’t have a customer service contact option on their website, something that passengers regularly complain about in reviews.

  • Will be intersting to see the crew use this new word KIS in front of Arab and conservative Gulf passengers!

    In Arabic, that word translates into a very embasrassing word that will sure get some angry reaction.

    As a ‘cosmopolitan airline’, as the embedded video mentioned, doesnt foreign-managed EK management check with Arabs to ensure their new terms do not conflict with local traditions?

    I’d give it 6 months before EK finds itself in an embarassing situation and forced to change it.

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