Malaysia Airlines further re-affirmed its leadership as a social media innovator with the launch of MHbuddy on Facebook. The application which can be accessed from the new Malaysia Airlines Facebook page, allows Facebook’s 500 million users to book and check-in for a flight while sharing their trip details with their social network.
Developed with Malaysia Airlines by SITA Lab, the research group of air transport IT provider SITA, MHbuddy is an application on Facebook Platform that allows passengers to book and check-in for a flight while sharing their trip details with their friends.
Malaysia Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial Strategy, Dr. Amin Khan said: “Our customers are spending more and more time on social networks and Malaysia Airlines is one of the most active airlines using social media to drive revenue. We have over 380,000 fans who actively engage with us on our existing social media channels.”
“The introduction of MHbuddy really takes flight bookings to another level. Besides opening up another distribution channel for ticket sales, now, our customers can also experience amazing convenience. At the same time, they can stay connected with their friends,” he said.
Amin acknowledged that a few airlines are already selling tickets on Facebook. However, he quipped, “No other airline allows its customers to integrate their travels so deeply into the Facebook social graph. Neither do they allow customers to check-in via Facebook.”
“With MHbuddy, customers who book a flight are reminded of their friends who live at the destination they are headed for. They are also prompted if any of their friends on the Facebook network are also planning to travel to the same destination. If they like, they can also share their itinerary with friends,” said Amin.
In addition, MHbuddy users can check in via Facebook and select their seats. During seat selection, they will also be able to view the seats of their friends who are travelling on the same flight. This gives MHbuddy users a really easy and convenient way to connect with their friends when they travel on Malaysia Airlines, wherever they are.
Speaking at Innovation in Airline Distribution 2011 in London, Jim Peters, SITA Chief Technology Officer who heads up the SITA Lab, said: “SITA has always focused on technological innovation that the air transport industry and passengers want. This is another example of how we are enhancing the travel experience for passengers and giving them applications that are relevant to the way they live their lives. This initiative is a great step forward and gives Facebook users the opportunity to do what Facebook does best – keeping in touch and sharing life experiences with friends. SITA Lab is delighted to work with Malaysia Airlines to offer this ground-breaking service.”
Since its establishment three years ago, SITA Lab has delivered numerous innovations, several of which were developed with Malaysia Airlines including the world's first kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad and an augmented reality application for the Apple iPhone to allow customers to pick up the best airline deals from nearby airports. In 2009, the airline launched the hugely popular MHmobile which enables travelers to book flights and access up to date travel information while on the move.
In 2010, Malaysia Airlines was recognized for its active engagement on Social Media by winning the "Best Use of Social Media to Drive Revenue" award at the inaugural Simpliflying-Airline Business Social Media Excellence Awards for Airlines.