A lot has been said about the decline in airport customer service, but three airports in the New York area, plus Washington Dulles International Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport now have customer service representatives who are always polite and never take breaks. What’s the catch? They are computer avatars.
It remains to be seen if “Ava,” the computerized, hologram-image is indeed helpful for travelers. Ava is programed to answer to most common questions, but she is not actually interactive. Though future iterations of the technology should be able to hold conversations, the current version offers flight information and tips about transportation options like shuttle bus and taxi pick-ups.
The life-size, human-form flatscreen activates when a traveler approaches.
In New York, the Port Authority has invested $180,000 in renting five Ava reps for Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. Overseas, airports in Paris and Manchester have also been experimenting with the technology.
On air, Peter cautions that Ava is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to airport cost-cutting measures.
Watch the full CBS This Morning report to see how we have lost the art of conversation when it comes to present-day customer service.
For more questionable innovations in customer service, check out:
- Peter’s Travel Tip on Self Check-In Airlines
- Peter Travel Detective Blog on Where in The World is Peter Greenberg’s Luggage
- Peter Travel Detective Blog on his Latest Adventure in Customer Service
- The Airline & Airport archives