What's the best way to buoy a struggling airline that consistently ranks lowest among its competitors, is in the middle of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and threatened to fire 11,000 employees just yesterday? Issue every flight attendant with a gadget worth two weeks' salary, of course! American Airlines is proud to announce that they're providing each and every flight attendant with a Samsung Galaxy Note (original), to aid them in quickly and competently gathering passenger data while in the air. American claims that this move is the first of its kind for any airline.

Bitter snark aside, the company's reasons for choosing the Galaxy Note are understandable. After reportedly testing a number of devices out (presumably including smartphones and tablets from various manufacturers) the employees were most satisfied with the Note, because it offered them the largest screen possible on a device they could operate with one hand. It makes sense: the elbow action alone from a 10-inch tablet would make it downright impractical to use in airplane aisles twenty inches wide. The company previously issued the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to passengers in premium cabins.

Of course, American Airlines will have to invest considerable resources into developing software to make these devices useful (if they haven't already), not to mention training 17,000 flight attendants to use them. Remember that the next time you're paying $30 a piece for checked baggage.

American Airlines announced today that it will deploy 17,000 Samsung Galaxy Notes to its flight attendants onboard its aircrafts. Flight attendants will use the Galaxy Note to record customer meal and beverage preferences, access customer information and identify high-value customers or customers requiring special assistance. Essentially, American Airlines has chosen the Galaxy Note to modernize their inflight services and better serve their passengers.


American’s Tablet Program Planned to be the First of its Kind for any Airline

FORT WORTH, Texas – A more personalized inflight experience will become a reality later this year as American Airlines flight attendants begin using the sleek, new Samsung Galaxy Note® as part of American’s innovative tablet program designed to put invaluable customer data at their fingertips.

“This is a huge step towards a new, modern American Airlines, as our tablet program is the first of its kind in the airline industry, where our flight attendants will have the most up-to-date customer information in the palms of their hands, allowing them to better serve our customers from boarding to deplaning,” said Lauri Curtis, American’s Vice President – Flight Service. “By giving a device to all of our active flight attendants we are better enabling our people to deliver an exceptional customer experience.”

The new devices will be a strategic tool for flight attendants giving them greater access to more information about the customers onboard their flight. To better serve customers, American’s flight attendants can use the device to:

·         Access customer information such as name, seat number and loyalty program status in a seat map view and customer list view;

·         Record meal and beverage preferences for premium class customers;

·         Easily identify high-value customers seated in the premium cabins and in the main cabin, and customers requiring special assistance; and,

·         Provide customers with connecting gate, flight delays and weather information – pending FAA approval, all information will be automatically updated when Wi-Fi is available on the aircraft.

American intends to use the devices for transactions onboard the aircraft such as purchasing food inflight, pending FAA approval. The Samsung Galaxy Note is a SAFE™-designated device that offers a full portfolio of enterprise-ready features and capabilities. Additional functionality such as the addition of the flight attendant manual and more will continue to roll out over time. Adding the manual to the device will eventually eliminate the need for flight attendants to carry paper manuals – a more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly approach.

American began piloting the program this spring.  Beginning later this year through mid-2013, American will roll out the selected devices to all of its approximately 17,000 flight attendants. The Samsung Galaxy Note was chosen based on flight attendant feedback after months of testing different devices. Through testing, the Samsung Galaxy Note was ultimately selected because of its thin, portable design, easy to handle profile, SAFE security features, and 5.3-inch HD display that provide wide-screen readability and the functionality necessary to equip flight attendants with the ability to better know their customers and deliver the service they value.

“We’re pioneering important new technologies as part of our continued effort to build a new American and return to industry leadership,” said Maya Leibman, American’s Chief Information Officer. “As we continue to evolve into a more modern airline and explore ways to enhance the travel experience, we are giving our people the tools they need to offer our loyal customers ease of travel both in the air and on the ground.”

Furthering its efforts to advance airspace modernization, American Airlines announced earlier this month that it is expanding its Electronic Flight Bag program for pilots after becoming the first commercial carrier to receive FAA approval to use a tablet device in the cockpit during all phases of flight.

“From inflight entertainment to customer management, American Airlines is deploying cutting-edge technology to enhance the customer experience,” said Timothy Wagner, Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Sales for Samsung Mobile. “By pairing the power and performance of Samsung devices with the capabilities of their inflight teams, American is truly becoming the airline of the future – today.”

For more information on American’s innovative tablet program for flight attendants, please visit: http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/samsung-galaxy-note.jspand www.youtube.com/americanairlines.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://www.facebook.com/MyRealNameIsBuckley Ivan Vargas

    they are the worst airline but i have to admit that my one way from austin was on a newer airplane and it was comfortable, roomy, and dare i even say it? enjoyable. more planes, please.

  • Jon Garrett

    +1 for American Airlines.

  • Cheerful Charlie

    Let's HOPE that they really mean the Note 2!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Really, they don't.

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      I'm sure they don't, ignoring that they'd have to wait to deploy the Note 2 since it's not out yet I'm sure they are getting a deal on the OG Note (do we get to use the "OG" prefix for anything besides the OG Droid?) since it's nearly end of life.

      As a Note owner I can tell you it's plenty snappy already, there isn't much in the Note 2 (besides a slightly larger screen) that they will be missing out on.

  • Asphyx

    I wouldn't fly them if they gave ME a Galaxy Note! LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/morgan.petersson.3 Morgan Petersson

    Are they realy that BAD ?
    Never been to America (yet) :( thats why i ask... :P

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Yes, American Airlines is that bad. I've never worked with any other company wherein every single employee gave me the impression that they were actively wishing for my death.

      ...except maybe Bank of America. Weird how those patriotic names work, huh?

      • Freak4Dell

        I've been treated better by American Airlines than any other airline. They may not be cheap, and they may not have many frills, but they get the job done, which is more than I can say for a couple of others I've flown recently.

        I've also had excellent service from BofA.

  • Michael

    Imagine trying to help a passenger change a seat, while a new Facebook notification pops up about the amazing party last night?

    • Jacob Fulbright

      That's assuming they allow the employees to use the devices for personal use. Might be something they throw in their locker or that stays with the aircraft and they just pick it up when they board.

  • Freak4Dell

    I'm not sure how this will help anything, but as long as they continue to just do their jobs and treat me well, I'm not complaining.

  • http://twitter.com/bat0nas Tomas Misevičius

    Why do they need a Galaxy Note for that? 3x times cheaper devices would be more than enough.
    GSM is not available on the planes. And those guys will spend 90% of their time in the air?

    They should have bought a bit more simple devices. 17K devices is a really big number.

    • sarah

      i think you need to watch again the video then!ciao!!

    • Hal Motley

      It's more to do with the convenience that a 5.3" screen can provide, the device is large meaning a lot of information can be displayed at once and better inform the user. The flight attendant would use Wi-Fi to connect to the company's network and receive/send information using a bespoke Android application(s).

      This is a classic example of system analysis, where a separate company have analysed American Airline's current IT system and suggested improvements. I am pretty sure that this is the same company that would have suggested using Galaxy Tab 10.1's in premium class and would have designed software for it.

      GSM is pretty much irrelevant as you said due to the fact that GSM signal isn't available at 10,000 feet and I think in American Airline's case the fact is has GSM at all is a bonus.

      All they wanted was an Android tablet/phablet that had a convenient screen size (5.3") and the Galaxy Note fits the bill. Maybe this explains why the Galaxy Note 2 wasn't being used (or it could be due to lack of availability).

      I think that is kind of what Sarah was saying. XD

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      I'm sure if there was a ~5" WiFi only tablet they would have taken a look at that instead.

      They are probably getting a deal on the notes since they are nearly end of life anyways.

  • sarah

    +1for a Samsung and Galaxy NOTE!we love you!!!!

  • Jacob Fulbright

    Really says something about how American pays their employees when the Note is worth two weeks salary.

  • http://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/ Oflife

    Having owned the original Note (here in the UK, so it had the single Home button), it is ideal for such an application. In particular thanks to the stylus that makes selecting check boxes on forms much easier that trying to prod with a stumpy finger. Am getting a Note 2 soon as it's available. Much more useful and innovative than another slightly more shiny but smaller device recently launched... ;)

  • http://twitter.com/coldcc Coldcc

    Sir please turn off your cell phone. But you have the Note. I'm allowed to have this device on.

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      I'm sure that officially the notes will have to be turned off for takeoff & landing, but just like some passengers ignore those rules I'm also sure some of the flight attendants won't bother.

  • guest

    so they voided their pilot contracts, and have been crowing they need to save 1.25 billion and want to take it ALL from employees and their benifits. But here's a gadget to shut you some of you up... Stay classy American.. stay classy

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.hart.35574 John Hart

    Jeremiah must have flunked math. The Galaxy Note II is expected to cost $300. If that represents two weeks of a flight attendants salary, then they are only making $7800/year. If he would have taken a minute to check their salary on GlassDoor he would see it ranges from $32K - $63K. The average is about $44K. If you do the math the cost of the devices is $5.1M, divide that by $44k and it's the equivalent of 115 flight attendants for a year. This represent 6/10's of 1% of flight attendants. Flight Attendant attrition rate at AA is 4% (check their website). Since the average tenure is 21 years, they will likely lose more to retirement. The point is that the cost of the devices is nothing compared to the value they will bring if the mobile applications on them improve customer service.