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5 ways airlines can use automation to make air travel friendly

Elizabeth Zink
May 5, 2023

In late 2014, at a business dinner, our founder and CEO, Richard Smullen, found himself in a conundrum. He needed to change his flight but was unable to excuse himself from the table. He began texting his sister who managed to change the flight for him but this brought a dawning realization onto Smullen. Why couldn’t he simply text with the airline to change the flight? Why did he have to jump through so many hoops? It had to be easier.

And so Pypestream was born.

Now, nearly nine years later, Pypestream has evolved and grown but the air travel industry remains stagnant in the world of customer service. The customer service woes that seem to plague the airline industry have become standard practice. In response to these woes some smaller airlines have turned to automation entirely but until the major players start taking note (i.e. Delta, JetBlue, American Airlines) it won’t be enough for the airline industry to turn around its poor customer service reputation.

As experts in digital transformation, we have put together a list of 5 ways the airline industry can make air travel friendly again.

1. Accessible Customer Service

One of the most important ways chatbots can improve the air travel experience is by making customer service more accessible. As it stands, call centers for airlines are overwhelmed by the constant surge of customers. Between lost luggage, delayed and canceled flights, and other problems that crop up over the course of air travel as well as the resurgence of travel post-COVID it’s been a tidal wave that most airlines have been struggling to contain. Automation allows customers to service their own problems without ever talking to a real person. This creates an opportunity for the people who truly need the assistance of a real person to actually speak to a real person.

2. Natural Language Booking

Finding the right flight for your budget and schedule is a challenging task that can require months of preparation. A conversational solution creates a customer experience whereby customers find trips via a chat. The benefit to the customer is obvious as it creates a white glove experience for travel booking, but it also reduces the likelihood of customers going to a competitor or travel aggregation sites.

3. Proactive Texting

Flights are not always on time. In fact, more often as of lately, flights tend to be delayed or, in the worst case scenario, canceled. The worst time to learn of a delay in particular is most likely when you’re sitting in the terminal waiting to board your plane. With proactive texting, chatbots can inform passengers of flight delays and cancellations (in real time) without the need to check online and, occasionally, before the customer has even left for the airport.

4. Luggage tracking

Proactive texting and automation can help customers keep an eye on their valuable belongings. With texts sent to update customers they can know when and where their luggage is and if it’s arrived at baggage claim.

5. Airport information

Automation can help customers locate their terminal with both up to date information and airport maps, thereby reducing the risk of needing to run through the airport at mach speed to avoid missing your boarding group. Furthermore, chatbots can inform passengers about amenities like duty-free shops, restaurants and their hours, and airline club lounges.


Automation opens the opportunity for airlines to not only improve but completely transform the airline industry’s approach to customer service.  At Pypestream, we are dedicated to producing solutions that help both airline passengers and customer service representatives. If you’re interested in how Pypestream can make the skies you fly in a little bit friendlier, reach out to us today!