Tigerair Australia introduces Facebook Messenger chatbot Toby

Tigerair Australia Airbus A320 VH-VNR operates the inaugural Melbourne-Canberra service. (Paul Sadler)
A Tigerair A320 VH-VNR at Canberra Airport. (Paul Sadler)

Facebook users will be able to look up flights on Tigerair Australia or check their itineraries via the social media company’s Messenger service.

The Tigerair chatbot, named Toby after the airline’s mascot, will also answer general questions on the travel experience such as luggage allowance and checkin options.

A screenshot of the Tigerair Australia Facebook Messenger chatbot Toby.
A screenshot of the Tigerair Australia Facebook Messenger chatbot Toby.

Launched on Monday, Tigerair commercial director Andrew Maister said Toby was designed to make the booking process more convenient and interactive and comes on top of previously introduced facilities such as mobile boarding passes and self-service kiosks at selected airports.

“Toby acts as your own personal travel consultant at any time of the day or night, helping you search for the best value flights for your next trip and guiding you through the booking process,” Maister said in a statement.

Tigerair said users would be transferred to the Tigerair call centre or social media team for more detailed assistance should Toby not be able to help.

“During Toby’s initial probation period while he’s in training, he’s focused on doing the basics right and learning as he goes,” Maister said.

“Once he’s earned his stripes over coming months, he will progressively be taking on a broader range of customer queries associated with booking and flying Tigerair.”

A recent report from technology provider SITA highlighted the increasing emphasis on self-service options for passengers, with 97 per cent of airlines planning to offer checkin, boarding and flight status notifications via mobile by 2020.

This compared with 73 per cent for mobile checkin, 70 per cent for mobile boarding and 68 per cent for flight status notifications via mobile currently.

Further, the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights report said airlines were projected to spend US$24.3 billion on IT in 2017, up 11 per cent from US$21.9 billion in 2016.