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Qatar Airways creates first AI flight attendant: ‘Approachable and friendly’

Qatar Airways is tapping into cyberspace for virtual flight attendants.
Qatar Airways is tapping into cyberspace for virtual flight attendants.

Would you fly AI?

Qatar Airways is adding virtual flight attendants as “digital human cabin crew” to assist customers at airports and onboard planes.

Named Sama 2.0, the female faux staffer was rolled out at this week’s massive ITB Berlin trade show. The airline demonstrated that a customer can speak into one’s phone with Sama answering on a large kiosk-like screen, video shows.

The airline claims that the virtual cabin crew member — also accessible through its metaverse, called the Qverse, and the Qatar app — is the first AI-powered customer assistance of its kind.

Qatar Airways is rolling out AI technology to work as a virtual flight attendant. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is rolling out AI technology to work as a virtual flight attendant. Qatar Airways

Statements from the airline and developer UneeQ claim that the digital helper — whose name means “sky” in Arabic — blends “technology with empathy and personalization” and offers “engaging interactions that mirror human conversation.”

It is designed to learn from customer behavior through “comprehensive visual interactions” to “assist its passengers in designing curated travel experiences.”

Flyers can make the most of Sama by tapping into Qatar’s Qverse. From there, the virtual helper can, for instance, guide passengers through 3D-mapped renderings of airports and answer travel-related questions about baggage, check-in and more in real time as they are typed or spoken into a chat module.

Qatar Airways has unveiled a virtual flight attendant. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways has unveiled a virtual flight attendant. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways’ digital cabin crew is about to take flight. REUTERS
Qatar Airways’ digital cabin crew is about to take flight. REUTERS
Qatar Airways’ Sama can answer customers’ questions in real time. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways’ Sama can answer customers’ questions in real time. Qatar Airways

The assistant is currently English-speaking only but is planned to have fluency in other languages, including Arabic, by later this year.

“This is a monumental point in spearheading the successful synergy between technology and human connection – not only for Qatar Airways but also for the industry at large,” company Marketing Vice President Babar Rahman said, adding that the interactions would be “approachable and friendly.”