British Airways wants to know what important guests look like before they arrive

Skift Take

Some privacy groups in the UK are calling this Googling an invasion of privacy, but this practice has been common at hotels for years and is much less invasive than the security search most flyers just had.

— Jason Clampet

Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: John-Paul Ford Rojas

British Airways staff will be able to identify customers by using a new computer system that searches Google to find images of them.

Cabin crew and staff at check–in desks and first–class lounges will be equipped with technology to help them meet and greet selected travellers.

The aim is to give the airline a more personal touch when serving important passengers, such as chief executives of financial companies, who may not be instantly recognisable by British Airways employees.

The carrier already identifies such passengers on each flight but until now staff would not have known what they looked like until they checked in. Now they will be able to approach such clients proactively.

BA says the “Know Me” system will enable staff “to put a face to the name before the customer sets foot in the airport”.

The programme is able to send messages with information about specific passengers to the iPads of customer service agents and senior cabin crew or update check–in staff via the airline’s computer system.

The system also identifies data on passengers who may have encountered problems in the past so that they can “go the extra mile” for them.

The airline aims to send 4,500 such “personal recognition messages” a day by the end of this year.

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