UAE: How metaverse can help Emirates save costs, improve customer service

The airline is rolling out a series of metaverse projects primarily to build the right environment for young travellers



by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 2:50 PM

Last updated: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 4:27 PM

As Emirates airline takes a leap into the metaverse, passengers can expect not only a more efficient, interactive service — but also better value for their time and money.

Adel Ahmed Al Redha, chief operating officer of Emirates, said the metaverse will transform entire processes, from operation and training to sales and overall customer experience. It allows the airline cut the "middleman".

"When I say doing away with the middleman, I'm talking about certain processes that are not necessary anymore but have just been there. I think the metaverse does provide us the opportunity to eliminate that," Al Redha said as he took the stage on the second day of the Dubai Metaverse Assembly.

Explaining how a direct communication channel to customers transforms services, he said: "If I look at our business today, we've seen an increase of close to 50 per cent of our online booking coming from customers directly...We are cutting out the middleman, and with this elimination, we bring in efficiencies, more capabilities. More importantly, we pass on these costs that we’ve saved to the end-users (customers) and give better value for their time. That’s where we're going with this technology.”

Emirates had earlier announced that it was planning to launch NFTs and exciting experiences in the metaverse for its customers and employees. Soon, it will also allow passengers to select their seats, shop for duty-free products or even tour the airport and hotels through the immersive platform.

All these innovations, Al Redha said, are ultimately aimed at building the "right environment" for the youth.

"Look at metaverse, look at NFTs, look at all this and where it came from… It came from the young people (youth). I only support them as a company. We provide them with the right environment. We need to understand how the people in their 30s would like to interact because they are the future of these businesses, not us," he said.

"So, we need to make sure we are building for them, and everyone will enjoy it — because it improves the overall offering.”

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Besides enhancing customer service, the metaverse could change how businesses run the back end of their operations.

Sharing how this works for Emirates, Al Redha said: "I was recently in Humboldt (US), configuring the A350. We used metaverse, virtual reality and walked into the aircraft and looked at every detail, every gap in the aircraft, whether it is in the galley or with the seats. We have configured an aircraft. And what we see there today is exactly what we'll see in 2024.

"So, your ability to experience the journey onboard an aircraft and an airport will not only give you better satisfaction, but more importantly it will eliminate any surprises when you actually try it.

The technology is also being used in training the airline's cabin crew.

"In training, we've currently got 16,000 cabin crew but by the middle of next year, we plan to reach close to 20,000 cabin crew. We are continuously evolving our onboard service as well, whether it’s food or how we serve our customers. Without this technology, we will not be able to deliver this training in an efficient and accurate manner to our crew,” Al Redha said.

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