Gail the chatbot at Gatwick Airport

Confused on a flight time? Don’t know where an airport lounge is? Want to find the nearest place to get a coffee? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could ask your phone for flight and airport information!
As a response to these everyday issues, Gatwick Airport have introduced an AI chat bot named Gail to aid journeys throughout the site. Gail will be able to assist with topics such as flight-specific notifications, information on airport shops, restaurants and other facilities through Facebook messenger. As the development of this feature increases, Gatwick Airport will look to expand it in different languages in 2020.
The AI-enabled chat bot offers easy access to info before & during a trip away. For instance, passengers can simply type in their destination, select their flight from a list and then receive real-time updates on the flight status.
Gatwick Airport teamed up with the VINCI Airport network throughout this project, especially with Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport in France, who launched their chatbot back in October 2017. The collaboration helped pave the way for how the AI bot can be used, highlighted questions passengers might ask and proved the value of features such as ‘quick response’.
So far some of these findings include:

  • Quality conversation – The current chatbot can answer roughly 80% of questions which is expected to reach 95% by actively learning from interactions with users
  • Improve customer experience – The chatbot is able to take the experience further by suggesting relevant info such as where to eat based on a customers flight time, or suggesting vegan restaurants to those who are looking for such places.
  • Multi-channel access – So far the chat is only available on Facebook messenger, but with a bit of development the facility aims to be accessible and tested from platforms such as WhatsApp and Apple Business Messenger.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Innovation at Gatwick, said: “Our passengers are at the core of everything we do and the aim of this AI-enabled chatbot is to make it easy for them to get airport and flight-related information. We have only just rolled this service out on Facebook Messenger but we expect that it will become popular and the chatbot will learn rapidly using artificial intelligence as an increasing number of our passengers use it.

More globally, experience across VINCI Airports’ network of 46 airports in 12 countries demonstrates that well-designed chatbots successfully engage passengers and can satisfy many of their needs. We believe there is significant potential for chatbots to facilitate, personalise and enrich each passenger’s end-to-end experience across multiple touchpoints.”

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Gatwick Airport chatbot

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