Image via Austrian Airlines

CleverTogether offers Austrian’s passengers user-generated destination content, while providing the airline with valuable customer data.

Austrian Airlines will extend the availability of its CleverTogether in-flight community travel portal in the next couple of months, with other members of the Lufthansa Group to consider its implementation by the end of this year.

CleverTogether is a community portal allowing passengers to share knowledge and tips about their destination, including the best way to travel from the airport and recommendations for restaurants and bars, as well as providing access to partner websites. It is currently available on 31 of Austrian’s Airbus aircraft via the FlyNet in-flight connectivity system, Dr. Julian Fischer, manager new product and innovation, Austrian Airlines, said at the recent Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore. The portal is free of charge and can be accessed via a passenger’s device.

AFA Dr Fischer Austrian

CleverTogether is a result of Austrian’s role as an innovator within Lufthansa Group, Fischer explained, with the airline building prototypes and validating them before possible rollout to the rest of the group. “We are some kind of innovation speedboat within the group,” he said.

“We are some kind of innovation speedboat within the group.” – Dr. Julian Fischer, Austrian Airlines

Testing of the portal started last year, with 12,000 test flights completed in phase one and a second test phase launched at the end of last year. During a one-month period, 1,750 passengers registered on CleverTogether and 417 tips were provided, says Fischer.

In May or June the portal will be available on flights to 15 of Austrian’s destinations, at which point the airline will actively promote the community platform, Fischer said. At the end of the year, Fischer expects a decision to be made on whether Lufthansa and Swiss will introduce the platform, depending on the results of ongoing testing.

Austrian is also considering additional features, including providing information on upcoming events at your destination. “We are trying to bring relevant content which [passengers] don’t have access to normally as they would need to buy an internet package,” he said. The next phase will see the portal made available on the ground, allowing passengers to register before their flight.

Passengers can also complete a quiz on their destination to test their knowledge in return for a voucher to use the FlyNet portal. Austrian originally included a chat function on the platform, but disabled it after it was not used by passengers in testing. “It wasn’t the killer feature as we thought,” Fischer said.

As well as providing information to passengers about their destinations, the tool is also providing Austrian with valuable information on their non-frequent flyers. Fischer says: “It brings in more money than it costs because of the customer data.”