Last updated: 02:37 PM ET, Tue July 26 2016

London City Airport Ramps Up Customer Service Via Facebook Messenger

Airlines & Airports | Michael Schottey | July 26, 2016

London City Airport Ramps Up Customer Service Via Facebook Messenger

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

For London City Airport, flight alerts are officially going down in the DMs.

The airport announced a new personalized messaging program allowing travelers to receive alerts about their flights right inside their Facebook Messenger app. While many U.S. travelers are used to receiving flight alerts via text, European fliers know that complex international telecommunication quirks make apps like Facebook that much more efficient and avoids pesky charges.

It works like this: any passenger can send their flight number on the day of travel to the LCY Flight Info Facebook page and receive personalized flight information. From there, automated direct messages provide up-to-the-minute information on flight status — including departure and arrival time as well as boarding gate numbers. 

About the move, LCY’s Chief Information Officer Alison FitzGerald said:

“The majority of our passengers are connected to social media and many of these are business travelers, so it makes perfect sense to offer flight updates directly to their smartphones via Facebook Messenger. We already offer free Wi-Fi and a check-in time of 20 minutes or less, and this is another way of ensuring a hassle-free, personalized customer experience.”

On the other end of the connection spectrum, constant push notifications about routine flight happenings can become monotonous. By putting the communications in Facebook, it makes it that much easier to mute when needed.

All in all, it’s a solid fix for a growing airport looking to increase its market share. London City Airport was the fifth-busiest London airport in 2015, but its traffic grew by 18 percent last year and it is now the first U.K. airport to feature this Facebook Messenger service.

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It’s also the perfect airport to spearhead innovations like this, because the Eastside of London which it serves is a growing tech space, and many incoming and outgoing fliers are likely to be well-versed on a smartphone. According to the airport, 35 percent of its customers are under the age of 35.

One can only hope that services like this will evolve to feature GIFs and emojis, because a flight delay can ruin one’s mood, but not when the news is delivered by adorable kittens

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