Airlines promote online booking with virtual assistant

Airport Scene

Booking your flight online just got a whole lot more fun in the shape of Jenn, the new ‘virtual assistant’ at Alaska Airlines.

Perhaps a taste of things to come from airlines in the UK, Jenn has her own voice and personality and is there to help customers of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air book their flights and to deal with all those frequently asked questions.

Jenn responds verbally when customers type questions in her chat window, asks follow-up questions when needed, provides a written response and related web links, and displays the site’s most relevant page. And to prove she’s a virtual gal with a personality, Jenn will also answer personal questions on topics like pets and favourite foods.

"With nearly half of our tickets purchased at alaskaair.com, our web site has become the single most popular way customers interact with us before traveling," explains Alaska's managing director of customer experience, Ann Ardizzone. "Jenn offers customers a more personalised, engaging experience online, while quickly connecting them with the site's most relevant information."

Next IT provided the software to produce Jenn. “Alaska and Horizon had the vision to see how this technology could improve service to their customers online, and now they are raising the bar for the travel industry,” comments Next IT’s president and chief executive officer, Fred Brown.

Jenn is the first virtual assistant introduced by an airline in the USA. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air can claim some other notable industry firsts. They were the first North American airlines to sell tickets online in 1995, and the first airlines in the world to offer airport check in online in 1999.

Together Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air offer flights to 92 cities in North America through their network in Alaska, Hawaii, the rest of the US, Canada and Mexico.

Written by: Nick Purdom

 

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Airlines Promote Online Booking With Virtual Assistant