Having been the first airline to introduce a paperless cockpit, American Airlines has gone a step further and made it cabins paperless by providing its flight attendants with electronic manuals, accessible through a handheld tablet.
American no longer relies on printing and shipping updates for flight attendant manuals, which the company says will save US$300,000 annually. As a result, flight attendants can now update their manuals in a matter of minutes and search for items in seconds, improving work efficiencies. Switching to the lightweight 5.3in Samsung tablet from the nearly 5-lb paper manual will also, according to the airline, save nearly US$650,000 in fuel annually based on current fuel prices. The tablets also will help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by 2,100 metric tons – or 4.6 million pounds annually.
“The accessibility and functionality that the tablet provides our flight attendants will greatly improve their work environment,” said Hector Adler, vice president of flight service for American Airlines. “The tablet allows us to reduce our dependency on paper products and to share important safety information with our flight attendants more quickly. This is a very exciting and important milestone for all of us at American as we modernize our processes and provide our employees with the best tools to do their job, and provide better service to our customers.”
American’s flight attendants began using eManuals exclusively on September 1, following a six-month test-evaluation period, with oversight from the FAA. In addition to the manual, the tablet provides real-time updates to flight attendants about premium customers, special meals, connection gates, special services and other information.
American’s first flight attendant training class that trained solely on the tablet will graduate in October. The eManuals will roll out to US Airways flight attendants after the two carriers achieve a Single Operating Certificate, planned for mid-2015.