Britannia Airways cabin crew get PDAs to process duty free sales

Britannia Airways is issuing 1,800 ruggedised personal digital assistants to it cabin crew to be used as electronic point of sale...

Britannia Airways is issuing 1,800 ruggedised personal digital assistants to it cabin crew to be used as electronic point of sale terminals and in-flight communications devices.

The company hopes to save £500,000 on procurement and support costs over the four-year lifecycle of the PDAs, compared to a dedicated Epos system.

The Casio EG-800 handhelds, which use the Microsoft Pocket PC platform, will run a retail application from Bristol Office Machines to allow cabin crew to process credit card transactions and print receipts for in-flight purchases.

To use a PDA as an Epos terminal, staff will place it in a docking station that features a printer and a reader for credit cards, smartcards and barcodes. Customers will be able to view product information including images and film clips held on the device. The system will go live on 7 May.

Britannia has installed wireless networks, protected by RSA security software, in the crew rooms at its 12 bases. Flight reports and sales information will be automatically downloaded from the PDAs to back-office systems for processing by a sales analysis tool. Staff will also be able to access rostering information and use e-mail on the PDAs.

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