KLM Royal Dutch Airlines believes integrating with Facebook Messenger, which has some 800 million users worldwide, is the next logical step for its business. KLM passengers won't need to download or use a separate app on their phone when checking in. They can instead rely on an app they likely already have: Messenger.
However, KLM passengers will still need to book their flight on KLM.com. Passengers will also need to accept the Messenger plugin on KLM.com at the time of booking. Once the flight is booked, passengers can receive their booking confirmation, check-in notification, boarding pass, and flight status updates all through Messenger.
Passengers with questions can contact KLM support via Messenger at any time. The service supports 13 languages at launch, including Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Norwegian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
Facebook first launched Messenger for Business about a year ago.
The idea is that messaging apps are ubiquitous and fairly sticky. People invest in using them and rely on them not only for basic communications, but for broader socializing. For example, about four out of every five passengers on US flights already have Facebook Messenger installed. Facebook believes Messenger for Business can help how companies and their customers communicate.
Social media has become an important tool for many consumer-facing businesses. People have grown accustomed to reaching out to companies via Facebook and Twitter for support and other issues. Extending the toolset to Messenger offers businesses another avenue through which to solve problems and share information.
"You have so many different channels to communicate with services and businesses and all of those things are imperfect, but they all bring something," said David Marcus, vice president for messaging products at Facebook, in a statement provided to USA Today. "What we have been able to do is bring the best of each of these methods inside one conversation that happens in Messenger."
Facebook is working with only a handful of early partners to bring Messenger to businesses. KLM's deployment is among the first to face the public in such a big way.
KLM hopes Messenger will reduce pain points for customers, who will be able to view all their travel details in a single conversation thread. In order to spur adoption, the airline is offering free tickets to those who take advantage of Facebook Messenger to check in to a flight.