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WhatsApp, Doc? Are Airlines Moving to Text Message-Based Booking and Customer Service?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


 

The Fly Delta iOS app displayed on an iPhone.

Do you have Spirit?

If you have WhatsApp, yes, you do.

Remember the days when tweeting @Delta for help seemed revolutionary and groundbreaking? Well, Spirit Airlines announced this week travelers will soon be able to book and change travel via the WhatsApp messaging app.

Spirit spokesperson Haven Kaplan explained to CNBC explains that “customers will first interact with a chatbot that will provide basic information about the request and then a Spirit agent will take over.”

The function launches September 1.

For what it’s worth, Delta Air Lines announced a pilot (no pun intended) program for customers to communicate via the Messages app, which is available on iPhone and iPad. But that seems like an extension of @Delta Twitter help.

Spirit downright wants you to spend money with them on WhatsApp.

“We launched this service to better connect with our Guests, both domestically and abroad, as many have told us that they would rather communicate on a familiar and convenient service like WhatsApp,” said Bobby Schroeter, Spirt’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “We know WhatsApp is incredibly popular in the United States, but also in the more than two dozen destinations we serve in the Caribbean and Latin America. From travel updates to adding a bag to your reservation, this new messaging service allows Guests to communicate with us in English and Spanish and to opt in to WhatsApp messaging. It is all part of our goal to elevate and improve our Guest experience.”

I find this interesting because airlines love having you use their dedicated apps. Apps provide chances for them to upsell services and pitch their co-branded credit cards. (Though I’m sure Spirit’s chatbots and live personnel that over will eventually do that, too).

I use WhatsApp overseas and love it. It’s a great program. Spirit integrating it as part of its customer service and commerce is definitely an interesting twist to watch.

Do You Want to Book Flights Over Text Message?

I love technology and all my gadgets — but am not quite “there” when it comes to booking flights via message. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer booking flights on laptop or desktop.

What do you think? Do you want airlines to move to more messaging-based sales and service? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below! — Chris

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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