In a claimed world first, Air New Zealand has introduced a special armband tracking device to be fitted to children flying unaccompanied. Perhaps other airlines will follow suit.
Children travelling alone on Air New Zealand services will now receive an Airband at check-in as part of the service, a media statement advised. The wristband is embedded with a chip which is scanned at key stages of the journey to trigger text notifications to up to five nominated contacts.
Air New Zealand general manager customer experience, Carrie Hurihanganui, says Airband is a great example of the airline investing in technology to enhance the customer experience.
“We know that having your child travel on their own can be a nervous time for both children and their guardians. While our staff have always taken great care of children travelling solo, we identified that there was an opportunity to enhance the experience for kids while at the same time giving caregivers further peace of mind and visibility of their journey.
“We believe this is the first time this type of technology has been used by an airline anywhere in the world for the purpose of providing caregivers greater peace of mind when their child is travelling alone. We have been trialling it across our network over recent months and the feedback from parents and guardians has been very positive with many welcoming the additional reassurance of knowing where in the journey their child is.”
Air New Zealand says it is the only carrier in New Zealand offering a service for children travelling alone.
The airline’s new service applies to all children aged between five and 11 who’re travelling alone – but those aged up to 16 years can choose to opt in.
The new service is being offered on a complimentary basis through until 3 February 2016. Bookings made from this date will incur a fee of NZD 15 per child for each one way domestic journey, or NZD 40 per child for each one way international journey applies.
Edited by Peter Needham