Digital PaxEx

Meet Mildred, the pink-haired Lufthansa chatbot

FRANKFURT - Meet Mildred. Lufthansa`s latest hire in customer support is "a friendly lady with glasses and her pink hair in a bun", according to the German airline. Actually, Mildred is more digital than human. Lufthansa developed the chatbot avatar "Mildred" to help customers browse for flights.

Quite a lot of airlines try to engage their passengers in digital conversations. KLM introduced a chatbot for Facebook Messenger earlier this year and Lufthansa`s Mildred is also a Facebook Messenger native. The idea is to solve simple customer inquiries quickly, accurately and at a fraction of cost of a human support team.

Lufthansa Mildred
Lufthansa Mildred, © Lufthansa

Mildred is available 24/7 and processes messages through a natural language processing platform and several databases. Lufthansa released Mildred in beta "to give her the chance to learn", says Dr Torsten Wingenter, Lufthansa Head of Digital Innovations.

Lost on the west coast

Well, Mildred, let us see what they have taught you so far. We are interested in a "one week round trip" from Frankfurt to Vancouver in Business Class "starting December 15th". This itinerary leaves little other Lufthansa travel options than its flights 492 / 493.

While Mildred understands our travel preferences and dates she suggests a flight to Portland, OR. Portland is a scenic city and located on the Pacific coastline like Vancouver is but it`s not where we want to go. We want to go to "VANCOUVER. In Canada", Mildred.

Lufthansa Mildred
Lufthansa Mildred, © Lufthansa

Mildred, probably a little confused by now (it`s her first day at work, after all), gets back to us searching for flights to the Canadian city Fort McMurray, which - Mildred is afraid - is not a Lufthansa destination. The digital Odyssey from Frankfurt to Portland and Fort McMurray ends as we submit the three-letter-code "YVR" of our destination. Mildred gets this final hint.

To be fair, Vancouver in Business Class was only bug we found as we challenged Mildred with five flight searches. She understood and processed four of our queries correctly and actually offered the best available price at Lufthansa.

Chatbot technology made impressive advances in recent years and will most likely handle even complex passenger inquiries in a not too distant future.

If you are eager to meet Mildred now: she is around at
© | Abb.: Lufthansa | Nov 11, 2016 08:45

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