Airlines “hacks” away at customer service glitches

Photo: Patrick Cardinal
Photo: Patrick Cardinal

Air France is launching a “hackathon” over two days in November. Contrary to its name, it’s not a convention for those with an irritated cough but a chance to win a free return flight with the national carrier to anyone who can find a solution to improve customer service.

The contest is open to 110 participants in the fields of development, design, and logistics who will meet from November 25 to 27 at the Zalthabar conference centre in Levallois-Perret, outside Paris.

Like a start-up weekend, teams of 2 to 5 will work for 48 hours non-stop using virtual passengers to try to deal with various scenarios faced on flights, like disruptions, cancellations or delays. At the end of two days, the jury will select the winners. First prize will be a return ticket from Paris to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Miami, Moscow, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo or San Francisco.

The second place team will be offered a return ticket from Paris to Algiers, Athens, Berlin, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw or Venice.

And third prize a prepaid wireless 4G case.

Air France’s hackathon is thinking outside the box as the airline is “always focusing more on the customer”, looking for ways to improve the travel experience.

Markets are awaiting the Air France-KLM’s quarterly report on Thursday, November, 3, although the company has declined 36.64% since March 31, 2016.