Gatwick Airport welcomes newest team member, Gail the chatbot
Wouldn’t it be easier if you could ask your phone for flight and airport information? Gatwick have introduced AI bot Gail to aid passengers’ journeys.
Gatwick Airport has launched a ‘Gatwick chatbot’, named Gail, to provide access to flight information, flight-specific notifications and information on airport shops, restaurants and other facilities through Facebook messenger.
As this development gets more popular among passengers, Gatwick Airport will expand the service to include different languages from 2020.
The AI-enabled chatbot provides easy access to information before and during a trip. For instance, passengers can simply type their destination, select their flight from a list and then receive real-time updates on the flight status.
Gatwick collaborated within the VINCI Airports network throughout the project, in particular with Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport in France, which launched its chatbot in October 2017. This collaboration helped benchmark what the new team member can be used for, questions passengers might ask and the value of features such as ‘quick response’.
So far, learnings include:
- Quality of conversations – currently, the Gatwick chatbot understands and answers about 80 per cent of the questions it receives and within a year the chatbots of both Lyon-Saint Exupéry and Gatwick are expected to reach a new level of understanding, reaching around 95 per cent by actively learning from interactions with users
- Customer experience – the Gatwick chatbot takes the experience further by integrating restaurants so that passengers looking for somewhere to eat before their flight can use the chatbot to help them find a suitable restaurant. For example – by asking: “Which restaurants have vegetarian options?” users will be presented with a list of options. Other chatbots in VINCI Airports’ network are likely to benefit from learnings based on this feature.
- Multi-channel access – while both the Gatwick and Lyon-Saint Exupéry’s chatbots are available on Facebook Messenger, the Gatwick chatbot will be tested on platforms such as WhatsApp and Apple Business Messenger, while Lyon has focused on web and mobile channels – an approach that will develop further knowledge and best-practice sharing.
Abhi Chacko, Head of Innovation at Gatwick, said: “Our passengers are at the core of everything we do and the aim of this AI-enabled chatbot is to make it easy for them to get airport and flight-related information. We have only just rolled this service out on Facebook Messenger but we expect that it will become popular and the chatbot will learn rapidly using artificial intelligence as an increasing number of our passengers use it.
“More globally, experience across VINCI Airports’ network of 46 airports in 12 countries demonstrates that well-designed chatbots successfully engage passengers and can satisfy many of their needs. We believe there is significant potential for chatbots to facilitate, personalise and enrich each passenger’s end-to-end experience across multiple touchpoints.”