SAS Launches WAP-Based Booking Service

    SAS has developed a new service enabling flight reservations to be made via a Wireless Applications Protocol (WAP)-based telephone system. A group of selected corporate customers has been chosen to test the new service during a trial period. The service also provides access to the SAS timetable, opportunities to check actual flight departure and arrival times for SAS aircraft, and details of customers' current EuroBonus points status.

    "We are probably the first airline in the world to provide such a service. Our goal is to make SAS optimally accessible and since we can now be reached via interactive voice-response systems, the Internet and WAP-based telephone systems, our customers can today contact us from virtually any location," says Lennart Lof, Vice President, Marketing & Loyalty Management, SAS.

    The functionality of the WAP service is very similar to that of the Internet. Customers connect with the SAS system via telephone and can then make bookings and carry out other errands via easily viewed menus. A few clicks are all that is needed. During the trial period, the service will be confined to the booking of ticketless air travel through SAS Travel Pass (prepaid travel system) and SAS Travel Pass Corporate (corporate business travel with invoice-based payments). Further ahead, it will be possible to book all types of travel.

    "We noted that our customers were very quick to adopt Talsvar (our voice- response system) as a method of handling their reservations. When we then made it possible to book tickets via the Internet, many of them opted to use this alternative, instead. Booking tickets via WAP telephone can thus be regarded as a natural extension of our reservation service," comments Lof.

    Although it is intended that the service content available via these various channels will ultimately be identical, certain functions, such as the checking of actual arrival and departure times, are currently only available via the WAP-based system.

    "We have elected to load the service offered via our WAP-based system with exclusively flight-related information, since we believe this is what our customers would prefer to have. In the future, this service will offer even greater potential, however. For example, it could be possible for passengers to receive information about delayed flights via the telephone. The bottleneck at the present time is the physical shortage of WAP telephones in the market," concludes Lennart Lof.

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