Etihad Airways has introduced a new WhatsApp service which enables passengers to chat directly with airline staff via the popular messaging app.
The national airline of the United Arab Emirates is rolling out the digital capability for premium customers to use when they are at Abu Dhabi International Airport, enabling them to chat with customer service agents.
Information on possible delays, issues with flights or gate changes can all be communicated quickly and easily using the digital application, which the airline plans to extend in future so that fliers can receive important messages by opting into WhatsApp communications on the Etihad Airways booking confirmation page.
Robin Kamark, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The new WhatsApp Business solution will provide Etihad Airways’ premium guests with immediate contact with the airline, using the very latest technology.
“Air travellers around the world use WhatsApp in their daily lives and so it is an ideal channel for them to communicate with the airline and receive the latest information about their travel journey.”
The new communication channel exists in addition to real-time Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Other innovative developments in the field of aviation include the introduction of robots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Seven new robots were unveiled in December 2017 - they're expected to offer assistance for visitors to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Air New Zealand is also pioneering a new trial which aims to provide real-time language translation services using Bluetooth headphones.
The carrier, which aims to become a “digital airline”, is using Google’s Pixel Buds earphones to enable the live translation of 40 languages using the Google Pixel smartphone.
Travellers who struggle to get to grips with the local language should see their flight experience drastically improving, with reports that many airports are exploring this capability further.