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British Airways Googling Some Passengers Before Flights

Watch what you say about British Airways online—the airline has launched a program called “Know Me,” in which airline employees will be searching Google Image for photos of flyers.

The Daily Mail reports that around 2,000 British Airways staff members will have access to iPads containing passenger data, including a flyer’s travel and complaints history. Staff will also be able to use the iPads to Google image search for pictures of passengers, allowing them to recognize you on board.

A spokesman told the paper, “The most recent advancement of the system enables the British Airways team to search Google Images for a photo of specific customers, so they can recognize them as soon as they enter the airport or aircraft and proactively approach them.”

The London Evening Standard quoted Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at BA, as saying, “We’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favorite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers. This is just the start—the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future.”

We wonder what they will do if they find less than favorable things about passengers online. If someone’s tweeted about a bad British Airways experience, will they get the cold shoulder? Or if they find a party picture of a flyer, will they keep the beverage cart away from him or her? With all of the less than flattering things I’ve written about airlines and the TSA, I’d sure hate to be Googled before I fly! On the bright side, it seems I won’t have to worry, as it’s only “VIP customers” who will be researched.

Would you be creeped out to have strangers Googling you before you fly? Or pleased to have someone recognize you and know all your preferences? Voice your opinion in our poll!

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