American Airlines to “Remember” their passengers

When I read the news about the change this morning I honestly thought, “It is about time!”

American Airlines has implemented a system – nicknamed “Remember Me” – on their call center software that now allows it to recognize callers based on their Caller ID information rather than requiring them to input an account number and PIN. When a customer calls in they will have direct access to their current reservations, gate and departure status. They expect to realize significant time savings for those users.

With “Remember Me”, customers can dramatically reduce the time it takes to get relevant information. The system recognizes customers’ phone numbers, instantaneously pulls up their reservations, and even greets customers by name. For example, if a customer calls American and is traveling that day, the new enhanced system proactively offers gate and flight information, all in about 25 seconds – less than one-fourth the time it takes those who are not registered for this time-saving service.

This is one of those things that has had the technology available for a long time but that very few companies have been willing to implement thus far. I can understand why to some extent, as there is a security risk associated with the technology, but it still seems like quite a good option to make available to folks who want such a feature.

The security risk comes from the fact that spoofing Caller ID information is actually pretty trivial, so there isn’t much to prevent me from setting up a phone system to call out with someone else’s number as the Caller ID. But since they aren’t allowing real transactions based on this information, just basic flight status information, I don’t really think it is a huge deal.

I’m also pretty happy with AA because they gave me back almost 25,000 miles that they had expired out of my account. Back in October I had a partner activity that was supposed to extend the life of those miles but it didn’t post to my account until mid-December. Over the intervening time the miles went AWOL. I was probably going to just let them go as I don’t really need them and didn’t want to struggle with the phone calls and hassle of recovering such a trivial amount of miles, but when I logged in to my account today to set up the new Remember Me service I saw that the miles were back in my account. Sweet!

Update: A quick update on this. I enrolled and it actually is pretty slick. They also have the option to use your ZIP code as a security measure for folks that want to. Not sure that it really matters, but the option is there.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.