Great Job! Make a difference aboard with MyFlight

Tech & Data
Cockpit and cabin

At Schiphol Airport you see a lot of KLM blue. But did you know that an entire blue world is also operating behind the scenes of KLM? In the Great Work! series, we show you the projects and places where KLM's less visible work takes place. This time we talk to application developer Erwin about MyFlight - the system for crew to prepare themselves for the flight and the wishes of their passengers.

Tell us, what is MyFlight?

'MyFlight is the app that crew use to prepare for a flight. It contains specific information for crew that is relevant to their flight. They can find their flight schedule, but also passenger lists, public address announcements and the Inflight Handling Manual; from how to work the coffee maker to how to serve it. Crew also use the app to upgrade passengers on the spot, offer a service repair or leave a message about a transfer passenger for the next crew. Crew also write Trip reports in the app to improve internal processes.'

What impact does this system have on KLM operations?

‘Four years ago, it really marked a new step in digitalization, allowing us to serve our passengers even better. The arrival of MyFlight has caused a landslide in flight preparation for the crew. Completely paperless! They used to arrive without any information at the briefing room at the Crew Centre, and now they can prepare their flight from home on the comfortable sofa, one day in advance! Not only do crews prepare a flight, they can do the same for their stay at the destination: how is the hygiene, are there special safety issues in the country concerned? During the COVID-19 pandemic, this became a frequently used part of the app for crew: all the rules were constantly changing worldwide.’

What problems do we solve with this tool?

'We can be much more up to date, offer tailor-made information and more service on the spot. Take the final passenger list. It used to be a long document that staff printed out at the gate. That print-out alone took ten minutes! Now, five minutes before departure, crew receive a push notification on MyFlight for the final passenger list.If the crew want to arrange a last-minute upgrade for a passenger it can be done straight away thanks to MyFlight. Keeping the app up to date and developing it further involves many technological challenges. Like building and testing an application, that functions both offline and online and where you have to rely on wifi in the air.'

What do the crew think of the app?

'They are very happy with it! With the iPad itself, which crew have been equipped with since 2017 and on which all their apps are installed. Crew give feedback directly through the built-in button in the app: whether it's about the functionality of the app or suggestions for new features. With this feedback loop, we always ensure the right balance between commercial value and value for the crew. So we're not just looking at extra revenue, but also at their satisfaction and efficiency; how do they get more time for passengers?'

We develop our apps for iPadOS in the Swift programming language, using various Apple and open source frameworks. We use the latest developments, such as SwiftUI and Combine. Our development pipeline consists of Jira, Confluence and BitBucket, and for our continuous integration we use Bamboo. The data in our apps is retrieved from various back-end systems using REST* services. Our team also develops these Java REST APIs.

Erwin, application developer

'One of our technical challenges was to make this data available in the apps during the flight. Especially in the early days of developing the apps, our fleet was not yet 'connected'. Therefore, we store the data in CoreData and make sure that the data is up-to-date before the machine doors close and the flight departs. Nowadays, our fleet is more and more connected with onboard wifi, this also creates new opportunities and challenges!'

Are there other areas where this tool is also useful?

'Although we developed the MyFlight app for KLM crew the KLM Cityhopper crew now also use it and Martinair uses the destination data. We also support and develop FlightDeck, the app for pilots, and Appy2Help for ground handling staff at Schiphol. We never stand still. The latest development is the implementation of a functionality that provides crew with more catering information to support the on-board meal service. This enables the crew to answer any questions passengers may have about the meal and provide a good explanation of its composition.'

Has MyFlight led to any unintended effects?

Haha, well because we have such a successful app, it's growing out of control. It has become a very complex application because of all the functionalities. The users want more and more functionalities, more than we can develop in a year. So we have to set priorities and above all: be agile and stay agile!

*REST = Representational State Transfer Application Program Interface; an architectural style that allows software to communicate with other software via a network or on the same device.

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