Airlines know a lot about you, from date of birth and home address to travel patterns, vacation preferences, beverage purchases and whether your last flight was good or bad. Now the latest generation of hand-held devices used by flight crews has an overhead bin full of information about each passenger.
United rolled out a new app to its flight attendants earlier this year with so much information about people, the airline has been reluctant to turn on all the functionality. The tool can show flight attendants information on each frequent flier’s five previous flights—green if it was a good flight, yellow or red if something went wrong, like a delay. But United is worried some customers might consider that stalking.
United Airlines’ app for flight attendants shows frequent-flier elite status, which customers have connecting flights and a wealth of other information.
Carriers say they don’t flag “problem” passengers—perhaps frequent complainers or people involved in confrontations in the past. Airlines do ban people from their flights for altercations or abuses, and the Transportation Security Administration flags problem travelers.
Alaska Airlines says that earlier this month it gave its flight attendants an app on their hand-held devices specifically to report sexual harassment, making it quicker and easier to alert the company to problem passengers. Alaska has had several high-profile issues involving passengers accused of harassing flight attendants, as well as a case of a passenger accused of harassing another passenger.
JetBlue tablets are mounted on beverage service carts so flight attendants can get a hands-free glance at where top-tier frequent fliers are sitting, which passengers have tight connections and where children traveling alone are seated.
JetBlue uses tablets mounted on the top of beverage-service carts so flight attendants get a hands-free visual picture of who’s who. “The ability for crew members to view a customer’s name is huge, especially in coach,” says Chris McCloskey, JetBlue’s director of inflight experience.
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