British Airways airport automation will see the airline trialing AI-powered autonomous robots at its home at Heathrow Terminal 5 to help some of the 90,000 customers who travel through the terminal each day navigate through the airport, freeing up the airlines’ award-winning airport hosts to help customers with more complex queries. The cutting-edge robots from tech company BotsAndUs are programmed to interact with passengers in multiple different languages using the latest translation technology to answer thousands of questions, including real-time flight information.
Additionally, using geo-location technology and dozens of advanced sensors to constantly monitor a 360˚radius, the robot will move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting customers to specific locations such as the airline’s dedicated Special Assistance and Family Check-In zones.
To complement its investment in technology and automation, last year British Airways launched a multi-million pound investment in enhanced training for colleagues as part of its First Contact Resolution Programme at Heathrow. The programme empowers customer service agents to use their expertise, initiative and judgment to solve customer queries on the spot using a suite of specialised apps on iPads. Following the overwhelmingly positive response to the new service from customers at Heathrow, the airline is now rolling the programme out across its worldwide network.
British Airways has also completed its roll-out of self-boarding technology across every international gate at Heathrow Terminal 5, leading to fewer flight delays. The gates are the first step towards customers being able to biometrically board international flights from the UK. The airline originally pioneered the use of biometric self-boarding gates on flights within the UK from Heathrow and more than 3.5 million customers have now boarded their flights this way. The airline also introduced biometric facial recognition technology on flights to London from Orlando, Los Angeles and New York, JFK transforming the airport experience and halving the amount of time it takes to board an aircraft.