Easyjet ready for take off with voice bookings

Using natural language processing technology from Google Dialogflow, the budget airline is incorporating voice booking into its popular mobile app later on this month

easyjetapp
Easyjet

Booking a weekend getaway on the Easyjet app takes on average of 12 taps today, but customers will soon be able to book with the budget airline using voice commands.

"You will talk to it like you would an old-school travel agent," Daniel Young, head of digital experience at Easyjet told Computerworld.

The British airline first started working with Travelport in May on its 'Speak Now' platform, which is designed to allow customers to make bookings using voice recognition. Google's Dialogflow, a specialist in building conversational user experiences, works in the background to translate the voice request with natural language processing technology. This is translated into text and mapped to the correct booking flow in the app, presenting the results back to the customer to confirm using one tap.

For example, customers will be able to, in theory, open the Speak Now feature within the mobile app and say: "I would like to go to Malaga on Friday, returning on Sunday, how much would that be?"

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Young admits that there will naturally be teething problems at the start, and that the airline has been working with Dialogflow to smooth out some issues with regional British accents and some of the trickier to pronounce airports on Easyjet's route network – Reykjavik being one obvious example.

"We did a lot of testing around accents and refining things around date estimation and airports like Reykjavik,"  Young said. 

Speak Now will be incorporated into the iOS app for English language users later this month, with plans to expand to other languages and use cases later on, including adding seats, bags and paying for flights.

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