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China Eastern Develops Digital Personal Assistant

April 24, 2015

Airlines are becoming more innovative by improving their inflight entertainment. China Eastern is the latest to do so by partnering up with Microsoft and creating an airline-specific intelligent personal assistant called "Donghang Xiao Ice".

China Eastern and Microsoft  have created an airline-specific intelligent personal assistant called “Donghang Xiao Ice” which allows passengers to chat amongst themselves on board, as well as check flight information and pre-order drinks and meals.

After boarding takes place on Wi-Fi equipped airplanes, passengers can use XiaoIce on their tablet or laptop (mobile phones are forbidden on Chinese aircraft) to socialize with other passengers, contact the crew, or send post-arrival pick-up reminders to those on ground.

In order to initiate a chat with XiaoIce, passengers have to type #?????# (#XiaoIceFliesWithMe# ), the flight number and the seat number.

The following is the translation of a chat with XiaoIce:
. USER: #XiaoIceFliesWithMe# MU5117
. XiaoIce: First time flying…feeling a bit nervous. Hold me still when the plane takes off. Oh, tell me your seat number!
. USER: 1A
. XiaoIce: Gotchya.

After XiaoIce acquires all of the necessary information, it can begin sending notes or messages on behalf of the passengers to the flight attendants  or other people on the plane.

An example of the note-sending function:
. USER: #sendnote# @crew A cup of water please
. XiaoIce: The crew has replied, “No problem! I’ll send it right away.”


This is no doubt another airline being innovative and doing it the right way!

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