It’s human to want to know what people are saying about you. And you may not know it — but the cabin crew on your flight have iPads chock-full of info on you. But don’t worry. They aren’t spilling tea on passengers — at least not in that sense.
The Passenger Information List (PIL) and Passenger+ systems began as a way for cabin crew to identify passengers with a tight connection and help them rebook while still mid-flight. Today, cabin crew are able to see a wealth of data points on each passenger in the cabin. Each airline’s system displays different information but there is some information that has become industry standard to pass onto the crew.
“I can use the seat map to see that if there are empty seats, that I can utilize those better, maybe for customers with reduced mobility,” British Airways Cabin Service Director Sally Kennedy told The Independent. “With the iPad I can be pro-active instead of reactive.”
While cabin crew can’t see how much you paid for your ticket, they are able to see if you’re a frequent flier with the airline and, if so, your status. “Just yesterday, a crew iPad on my British Airways flight alerted the team that I had re-qualified for British Airways Executive Club Gold status, and earned 2500 tier points,” Gilbert Ott of God Save the Points wrote. “It automatically populated a message of congratulations for the crew member to read out, and before take off I had received a nice personalized interaction thanking me for my loyalty.”
Other airlines, like United, use the system to keep track of customer satisfaction. If passengers fill out a satisfaction survey after their flight, cabin crew can see the history of the last five flights. If a passenger has consistently reported frustration with the service, The Sun says flight attendants will be made aware. They will often try to go out of their way to “win back” the passenger with gestures of goodwill.
Cabin crew could use the airline’s saved data to wish you a happy birthday, congratulate a couple on their anniversary or even remember that you generally take a glass of white wine upon takeoff.
The customer experience is becoming increasingly personal aboard the aircraft. Even in-flight entertainment systems are getting more customizable. Last year, Singapore Airlines introduced a new in-flight entertainment system that would allow passengers to pick up movies where they left off on their last flight.