Facebook Messenger can now help you book rides through Uber and complete day-to-day tasks through its personal assistant, M. So what’s the next step? Helping you avoid air travel stress, thanks to a new partnership between Facebook and KLM.
If you agree to the new feature after booking a flight with the Dutch airliner, KLM will start a Messenger chat thread with you, where it will send confirmation information, flight status, scheduling changes, and so on. Your boarding pass would also show up here, and importantly, you can chat with customer support should you have a question or problem that needs addressing.
Digital boarding passes aren’t revolutionary – they’ve been around for a while now. But interacting with the airline in real-time – from start to finish – through a single channel is novel. In a scenario where all airlines would utilize Messenger, it would eliminate the need to download multiple apps and connect you with customer service reps immediately, instead of direct messaging via Twitter or – gasp – making a phone call.
A Facebook Post from David Marcus, who leads the Messenger team, says they have been working on a way to help alleviate air travel-related stress for some time. Not only that, but his use of the words “first airline partner” suggests that there will be more partners to come, or airlines could integrate Messenger into their existing apps through an Open API.
“Goodbye forgetting the combination of your frequent flyer alphanumerical number and password to obtain your boarding pass, and holding for a long time on the phone to change flights,” says the post.
It makes sense that Facebook sees customer service as one of the next major frontiers for the Messenger app, which was built for communication. While this is the first airline to be fully integrated into Messenger, the likes of Hyatt and Walmart have both experimented with using Messenger to communicate with their customers, with some success. It will be interesting to see how different companies use Messenger to deliver their products, or if other airlines are as willing to experiment, but if the KLM integration is anything to go by, Messenger could soon be an integral part of our day-to-day lives.
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