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You’ve heard of iPad-wielding pilots working in a paperless cockpit? Now comes the paperless cabin with flight attendants accessing reports and manuals on their iPads, selling snacks and beverages using the tablet, and eventually retrieving seatmaps detailing passengers’ frequent-flyer status and preferences.
The new iPad hardware and software system for airlines, called FlyDesk, comes from several-month old Allegiant Systems, a joint venture of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel (which owns Allegiant Air), Lixar and Avintel. Allegiant Travel is the majority shareholder in the joint venture.
Four airlines, including Allegiant and three low cost carriers outside the U.S., are slated in December to start piloting FlyDesk Cabin for flight attendants, enabling them to replace their paper reports on cabin defects and incidents, and manuals with all of this documentation available on their iPads.
While the three foreign airlines will be testing the paperless cabin, Allegiant Air, which has built its model on a heavy dose of ancillary services, will also be having 50 of its flight attendants using FlyDesk Cabin to sell snacks and beverages. Allegiant does not offer meals.
The app manages the snacks and beverage inventory on an iPad, and a hardware add-on will enable the Allegiant flight attendants to process passengers’ credit card payments.
“FlyDesk will be our app store for aviation,” says Joe Ayson, director of marketing at Allegiant Systems, noting that future apps would give pilots a cost-effective solution to operate in a paperless cockpit. “With flight attendants having the tool right in their hands, it provides workflow efficiency.”
He says FliyDesk Cabin will evolve into a customer relationship management tool, with flight attendants able to view a seatmap on their iPads and learn passengers’ frequent flyer status, and whether they are vegans or carnivores.
Ayson expects that FlyDesk Cabin to be meaty for airline customers as the app can be stress-tested on Allegiant Air and other carriers.