​How Air New Zealand is flying high with AI

​How Air New Zealand is flying high with AI

Meet Oscar, the airline’s AI–backed chatbot.

Air New Zealand has made its first foray into the field of artificial intelligence (AI) unveiling its new chatbot, Bravo Oscar Tango.

Known as Oscar for short, the chatbot will initially assist customers with commonly asked queries, saving them time and offering a more personalised experience than searching a traditional Frequently Asked Questions section online.

As with other AI technology, Oscar will learn based on the conversations people have with him, becoming more user friendly and more helpful the more he interacts.

Air New Zealand chief digital officer, Avi Golan, said Oscar has been launched as a beta product allowing customers to play an active role in training him.

“This is a new approach for us, getting Oscar out fast and in the early-development stages so that we can build and co-create with our customers,” Golan said.

“Given Oscar learns natural language it makes sense he learns directly from our customers the types of information they want to know and the language they use, rather than airline jargon.

“The world’s best digital companies foster a culture of customer-led design and collaboration and for the airline to meet its big digital ambitions we must embed this culture of thinking, acting and doing as leading digital companies do.”

Introducing Oscar...
Introducing Oscar...

Oscar has initially been launched as a help chatbot to assist with Air New Zealand Lounge, Airpoints and baggage queries.

But in the future, Golan said the airline has big plans for him, including integration with the Air New Zealand Mobile app, via both voice and text, and with other chat platforms and in-home digital assistants.

“Over time we want Oscar to become a virtual travel assistant helping customers across every stage of the journey,” Golan added.

“With the ability to recognise who you are, inform you about your flights, make or change a booking, select seats, check you in, and offer to help sort you a taxi to the airport.

“There’s no doubt that AI is the future, allowing customers to better self-serve within their channel of choice, further improving the customer experience.”

Customers with queries about Airpoints, baggage or Air New Zealand lounges are encouraged to put Oscar to the test - he can be found in the Help & Contact section of the airline’s New Zealand website.

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