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British Airways just bought 15,000 iPhone XR models for flights

Apple has scored a major new customer: British Airways.

The airline recently revealed it purchased 15,000 iPhone XR models. Unfortunately, they’re not for passengers, but instead for its cabin crew. The new phones are part of an effort to give flight attendants better ways of delivering a personalised customer experience, and it follows a trial in which senior cabin crew received new iPad models on every flight.

British Airways said the iPhone XRs will come with pre-installed apps that will allow its crew to offer tailored assistance during flights. For instance, crew will be able to see specific customer information from the phones, including a passenger’s previous flights and meal preferences.

British Airways offered this example from a crew member using an iPhone XR:

“Recently, when a customer realised that he had forgotten to order a special meal, he was really impressed when I quickly took out the phone, logged onto and ordered a meal for his return journey – all within a matter of minutes in the middle of the flight. It felt so rewarding to be able to immediately resolve the situation for the customer. All my crew reference guides are also loaded onto the phone, so everything I need is in my pocket throughout each flight; it really has made a huge difference already.”

While this seems like it will certainly provide valuable insights to crew members so that they can deliver premium customer service, one can’t help but be a cynic and wonder if it also means the crew will now be spending much of their time staring at phone screens instead of actually interacting with passengers. 

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