Please sign in to post.
Posted by
6184 posts

The airlines already knew a lot about you because they have all your profile data, credit card data (if airline cobranded credit card or if you've made in-flight purchases in the past), loyalty program data, and how much/where you fly with them data at their disposal. Maybe an average person would be surprised at what they already know about you, and that's not even counting the files they can buy from intermediaries and marry to your other data like social media postings. Putting it on an iPad and having the flight attendants use it to the airline's advantage is the only difference - the data is already there, they are just starting to wake up on how to use it more intensively for more profits. I don't know how much they'll push this and how much the flight attendants have been empowered to use the info. But the passage below strikes me as one of the most important takeaways:

"Better service onboard in coach will go to those with higher status. Top-tier frequent fliers, as well as those with special needs, will get more personalized attention, airlines say."

A big driver of this is to gain ever more loyalty from those customers that spend most money with the airline, and to reward them accordingly by making them feel just that extra, extra special. Just another extension of what airlines are already doing with their perks systems. I would expect the divide between the haves and have nots to continue to widen as they cater to the cheapskates with the most basic unbundled economy tickets in contrast to their favorite "mile status" customers.

I don't care either way although I try to manage any info that's collected about me and how it's used. I'm loyal to no airline although I prefer some more than others. Southwest sends me a Birthday e-mail every year, and it's a hoot! And I'm loving the fee drink coupons too, come to think of it.

Posted by
7693 posts

Thanks Agnes, that link worked. Sorry, Joe, still has a need to sign in/subscribe.

Interesting article! I'll be sure not to fly on my birthday...to me greetings from a stranger would feel intrusive.

Posted by
182 posts

I changed the link when Pam pointed out that the WSJ link requires a subscription, the msn link does not.

Posted by
5019 posts

On a recent birthday, I got a Happy Birthday email from my car insurance agent, a half-dozen websites I don't remember ever using, and from a guy who did some drywall repairs in my bathroom 10 years ago.

That's creepy.

I hope the flight attendant on my upcoming trip doesn't offer compliments on my shopping tastes, and just leaves me alone so I can sleep as long as possible.

Posted by
4690 posts

I usually fly Southwest in the US, and without assigned seats, there's of course no way for the flight attendants to know where anyone is sitting. So none of the stuff mentioned in this article is even possible on a Southwest flight.

Even then - these days it's hard to get even a free drink on some airlines. It's hard for me to imagine airlines investing time and energy trying to get flight attendants to wish passengers a happy birthday is really wise for them.

Posted by
6247 posts

Pam--- When I just did a search for " .... guy in 14c...." The WSJ link came up and I did not need to sign in. I see now that it does in what I posted. Maybe the tech proficient could explain why that is.

Posted by
484 posts

This is not altogether new. Airline employees can tell rather quickly what kind of ticket you are traveling. They would know if you are a full pay or miles. If you are a FF.
I've found if you are very nice to the attendant, complement them, engage in some intelligent conversation you always get better service, no matter what class or what kind of ticket you are traveling with.
And if they give me special service for a birthday.. well, good.
I knew a person that would always tell them it was their anniversary so they would get free champagne. I find that completely dishonest.
I worked in direct marketing and having as much info on any customer is what companies want and gather. In this day and age we give so much info out and the companies can keep all this info easily now, just like you can take thousands of pictures on your little phone and then put them in a cloud.
Invasion of privacy? I believe not.

Posted by
1961 posts

I don't mind this phenomenon, and I try to take advantage of it. I only fly one airline (or its partners), so I have status. I'm always courteous and pleasant at counters, at gates, and on planes, regardless of the situation (which, of course, is the right thing to do, not just the expedient thing). I give every flight a 10/10 rating on the post-flight e-mail survey. I send e-mails to the company that praise crew members (and never send e-mails of complaint). So, I think I have a high "nice guy score" with my airline.

How does that help? Once, I had a tight connection at a hub and had to go from a satellite concourse where I arrived to the main terminal where I departed. As I walked off the plane, I was met by an airline employee with a tablet with my name on it. He led me down the jet bridge stairs to the apron, where a shiny, black Porsche SUV was waiting to drive me to my departure gate. The airline employee winked at me and said, "You can't ask for this, but sometimes we like to surprise you with it." I doubt that happens to the guys who post their arguments with flight attendants on social media.

Posted by
3322 posts

Yes, they know everything they need to and more about me. So what, so does everyone else too.

one thing they are looking to do with all that info they collected is ways to present you with ticket prices customized to your purchasing habits. If you always buy 1st class when the price is within a certain amount of coach, they will start showing you either marked down 1st tickets or marked up coach to force you into buying the 1st tickets while the guy sitting next to you buying tickets is shown a more realistic price for both because he isn't the frequent flyer on this airline and they have not yet collected enough info.

Posted by
13972 posts

quote from the article Letting flight attendants know something about each passenger “allows them to engage with customers in a meaningful way

Engage in a meaningful way - I'd be satisfied if they'd pay attention when I ping the call button.

Posted by
2814 posts

A big driver of this is to gain ever more loyalty from those customers that spend most money with the airline, and to reward them accordingly by making them feel just that extra, extra special.

I don't really care if the airline tries to make me feel special. I just want them to get me to my destination in a safe and timely manner.

On a recent birthday, I got a Happy Birthday email from my car insurance agent, a half-dozen websites I don't remember ever using, and from a guy who did some drywall repairs in my bathroom 10 years ago.
That's creepy.

I don't consider it creepy so much as I consider it absurd. I get birthday emails from my dentist and my periodontist. If they were crappy, or even mediocre, no amount of birthday greetings would make me stay with them.

As to privacy, I just assume I have none, in pretty much any sphere, and try not to worry about it.

Posted by
8906 posts

...so they have finally gotten around to doing what supermarkets have been doing for over 20 years.

Posted by
3141 posts

I read the article in the WSJ last week. The focus on FAs having apps so that they can report sexual harassment or other problems immediately I think is a good thing -- I hope other airlines follow what Alaska Airlines did. I can't imagine the altercations FAs have to deal with on a regular basis. I like what United did especially about getting real-time information about how a flight went (green light, yellow, red). I think tracking onboard purchases is pie-in-the-sky for airlines because on short flights, so often if you're seated in the back, the FAs don't get back there on time to offer drinks and snacks.