Aviation

Chatbot Oscar to man AirNZ help-desk

Daisy Melwani

 

It was bound to happen sooner rather than later, and Air New Zealand are the first to take the plunge into artificial intelligence.

The airline has made its first foray into the field of artificial intelligence (AI) unveiling its new chatbot, Bravo Oscar Tango – Oscar for short.

Oscar is expected to 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.

Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says 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. 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,” Golan said.

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

“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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