TUI fly began digitalising its business processes with the help of HanseVision back in 2008 and has become known as a trailblazer in the aviation industry. For years, TUI fly has used various apps for its flight preparations. During the boarding process, cabin crews used to be given long paper lists containing booking data that had to be matched to the right passengers—a time-consuming and unwieldy process. Automating this process was therefore an urgent priority.
The Seatmap App brought digital efficiency on board at TUI fly, a wholly owned subsidiary of the TUI Group. It was developed together with HanseVision to improve communication between employees (along with some 7,000 users) and make in-flight-service even more efficient. Cabin crews were finally able to get rid of cubersome handwritten lists. Instead, they now have access to all the information they need in a clear, intuitive app that presents it exactly when needed.
As a native iOS app developed using Apple’s programming language, Swift, the Seatmap App is ideally suited for iPads. It communicates with a web service that stores its data in a database. HanseVision spent about three months on this custom development, which included integrating it with check-in counters at airports in multiple countries.
The resulting app gives flight crews access to remarkably comprehensive information – even indicating whether a passenger has a fear of flying. Any information entered by a crew member automatically synchronises with the other TUI fly tablets on board via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This ensures that the entire cabin crew is up to date on the needs and specificities of each passenger.
The app even supports crews preparing for a flight at home or in a hotel, briefing them on key flight information such as boarding time, customs requirements and aircraft type. During the boarding process, they are notified of any passengers requiring extra assistance, for instance those with reduced mobility or families with small children. The app also shows seat reservations and requests for extra services.
During the flight, crew members can see who has pre-selected which meals thanks to a clear diagram displaying seat arrangements within the aircraft’s outline. This diagram is designed to rotate 180 degrees, so flight attendants can flip it as needed when they change directions walking up or down the aisle.
While the app stores an abundance of information, it only shows what is pertinent at each stage of the flight. As a result, users aren’t unnecessarily distracted, so they can focus fully on the task at hand.
The app has caused quite a stir within the TUI Group and will be making its début in other countries within the coming months. In addition to the Seatmap App, TUI fly and HanseVision have developed other apps to expedite tasks for the airline's flight attendants and pilots. A further app to streamline communication between ground handling and cabin crews is planned for the near future.