Listen, we’ve all Googled other people and have ourselves been Googled. When it’s done by a major corporation, however, it just seems a little more creepy.
Introducing British Airways’ “Know Me” program. Apparently the airline isn’t happy just knowing your name, address and credit card information. No, it wants to meet you face to face.
According to the London Evening Standard, the airline staff will search for images of passengers on Google so that they can greet them when they arrive at the terminal. Why on Earth would they want to do that? To make traveling on British Airways like walking into your own airborne version of Cheers, says head of customer analysis Jo Boswell:
We’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favourite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers. This is just the start — the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future.
Yes, that what’s been missing from air travel. No need to stop charging exorbitantly high baggage fees; just Google us and we’ll be happy!
The program will also be used to identify passengers who have filed past complaints, because nothing assuages an aggrieved customer like an invasion of privacy. British Airways says it wants to send out 4,500 personal recognition messages a day by the end of the year.
The rest of British Airways’ program sounds pretty smart. According to BusinessTraveler.com, senior cabin crew will be given iPads with information on “Executive Club status, previous travel arrangements, special meal requests and onward travel plans” for every passenger. That actually makes sense, seeing as that’s all information passengers have willingly shared with the airline.
But Googling somebody for a picture? As the improbably-named Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch told the Evening Standard, “If British Airways want more information about us they can ask us for it, rather than ignoring people’s privacy and storing data without us having any idea what data they are storing.”