The Dubai-based airline Emirates is rolling out new Apple iPhones and iPad Air devices to its entire cabin crew workforce which feature a suite of custom-built apps, allowing crew to take Business Class meal orders and access safety manuals at any time.
Emirates cabin crew have had access to digital devices since 2017 when the airline introduced a bespoke meal ordering app, although the original app ran on a specially configured Samsung device.
The airline has already equipped 7,000 crew members with the updated Apple devices and an additional 5,000 cabin crew are set to receive either an iPhone 13 or iPad Air in the coming months.
One of the main purposes of the device is the Business Class meal ordering app, although there are a host of other apps and features which include a digital passenger information list, roster and flight information and full access to the airline’s safety manuals.
One of the highlights of the meal-ordering app is that it records passenger preferences so that cabin crew know someone’s favorite drink or dietary requirements and even their loungewear size without having to ask.
Emirates said it made the switch to Apple because they “support the demanding operating environment of Emirates cabin crew” such as fast charging, a long battery life and premium security features.
For the meal ordering app, cabin crew connect their devices to a special WiFi router onboard, and the devices then sync with one another so that all crew members are aware of what different passengers have ordered.
When a crew member takes an order, the information is instantly sent to a linked device in the galley, allowing the order to be quickly prepared and delivered to the customer.
Digital meal ordering devices are, of course, increasingly common in restaurants around the world, although some passengers complain that it can make interaction with cabin crew less personable as they are constantly looking at their devices.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.