Air New Zealand has become the first airline in Australasia to launch on Google Assistant.
With Google Assistant, passengers ask a question on a device, like a smartphone or tablet. Google Assistant replies audibly and, depending on the device, visually. Passengers can then ask several follow-up questions. Google Assistant will be able to keep track of the conversation, determine context, and reply with the correct information.
It means that passengers can ask the airline about a range of topics, including check-in and baggage limits, on multiple devices.
So launching with Google Assistant opens up more options for passengers to interact with the airline.
Avi Golan, Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer:
“Voice is a growing channel and therefore it’s important that we offer this as an option for customers to interact with us. We see voice as playing a particularly useful role on the day of travel, giving customers who may have their hands full with last-minute travel preparations, the ability to check travel information without having to manually look it up on a device.”
Air New Zealand has been increasingly experimenting with Artificial Intelligence. It introduced a chatbot called Oscar in February and since then the bot has been helping passengers with commonly asked flight, baggage and lounge queries . His performance has steadily improved and today has an average of 900 conversations per day with passengers.
The airline is looking to develop its Google Assistant capability, including introducing the ability to sign into a booking or frequent traveller account to enable more personalised responses.
The Google Assistant is available across multiple devices, including on eligible Android 6.0+ and iPhones, Android TVs and smart speakers like Google Home (in Australia).
About Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand is the national airline of New Zealand and is based in Auckland.
Routes: Air New Zealand operates to 22 domestic and 29 international destinations in 16 countries around the Pacific rim (within New Zealand, Australia, the South West Pacific, Asia, North America) and the United Kingdom.
Fleet: Air New Zealand operates a fleet of 103 aircraft in total, with 31 more on order. The average age of the fleet is just over 7 years.
The fleet is a mixture of Airbus, Boeing, Aerospatiale and Bombardier.
- 30 Airbus A320
- 15 Boeing 777
- 9 Boeing 787-9 (4 more on order)
- 26 Aerospatiale ATR 72 (13 more on order)
- 23 Bombardier Q300
It also has 13 Airbus A320/A321 NEO on order.
The Boeings operate the long haul routes, the others are for domestic and short-haul.
Numbers: About 14 million passengers a year.
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