WestJet launches AI chatbot to improve customer experience

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot, the first of its kind for a Canadian airline.

The low-budget airline made the announcement Monday, calling the chatbot a quicker and easier way for its customers to plan and navigate their travel. It’s available through Facebook Messenger and according to the release can help travellers with finding travel destinations and can even offer “discovery inspiration” for trips. It also offers day-of travel information.

The chatbot, named Juliet is available in English and French and “uses reinforcement learning allowing the chatbot to learn the way humans do, with a combination of instructions, examples, and experience, leading to better responses over time,” states the release.

WestJet and Air Canada both announced plans earlier this year to invest in AI to improve customer experiences and aircraft maintenance according to the Toronto Star. The article states that several large airlines in the U.S. and Europe already have AI chatbots and machine learning algorithms helping with airline operations.

“Juliet is the first of many ways WestJet will be raising the bar using digital to improve the guest experience, and make the travel journey easier and more enjoyable,” said Alfredo C. Tan, WestJet’s chief digital and innovation officer, adding WestJet chose the Facebook Messenger platform for their chatbot because it’s a messenger site that the majority of its customers are already familiar with.

The AI chatbot will develop more “functionality, features and capabilities” and WestJet will eventually expand it to different platforms and have voice interaction capabilities.

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a staff writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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