NEW YORK: American Airlines, the air carrier, is taking a considered approach to potentially leveraging blockchain solutions, rather than being seduced by the latest shiny object in the technology toolkit.

Phil Easter, American Airlines’ head/emerging technology, discussed this subject at the 2018 Blockchain Brand Innovation Summit held by the Chief Digital Officer Global Forum.

“Everybody should calm down and take a deep breath,” he said when discussing the current blockchain hyperbole. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Flight delay: American Airlines takes long-haul view on blockchain.)

“From my perspective, I think we can wait to see how this evolves. We don’t have to go around to find things [or] to hurry up and do something.”

Easter’s caution – like the safety announcement before a flight leaves the runway – is perhaps a necessary warning given the litany of blockchain-based enterprises that have sprung up in recent months.

WARC is hosting a webinar about how the blockchain will impact marketing on May 24. For more information and to sign up, click here.
“If anybody comes to you and says, ‘Hey, we can do this on blockchain’, the first question [we ask] is, ‘Have we already solved the problem?’ If we have, then go away,” he said.

“Second, ‘Is it a problem that we really have that we can’t solve because we’ve never had this new technology or process?’ If ‘yes’ … then it’s an opportunity.

“I think those are a couple of quick ways that we can cut through the hype and make sure we do it for the right purpose, and don’t just do it because it’s a buzzword.”

Blockchain enthusiasts believe that airlines can leverage this model to transform various business functions, from virtual ticketing through to loyalty programs, managing customer data and handling maintenance logs.

While Easter is actively exploring the prospective applications of this technology, he reminded delegates that blockchain services should only be deployed if they are truly the best possible solution.

The airlines started the modern computer age back in the 1960s, he pointed out, “so we’ve been solving problems for years now with tech. 

“I’m not going to move my reservation system to the blockchain because it sounds like a cool idea – I’ve already solved that.

“I’ve solved a lot of problems. I’m interested in the ones I haven’t solved because I didn’t know about the blockchain.”

Sourced from WARC