Malaysia Airlines Launches Facebook App - MHbuddy

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Malaysia Airlines has launched MHbuddy, a service which allows any of the more than 500 million people who use Facebook to not only book a flight with the airline, but to also integrate trip details into their social graph, identifying friends who might be sharing flights, or who will be at their destination.

The new application has been developed for Malaysia Airlines by SITA Lab, the research group of air transport IT provider SITA.

Our passengers are spending more and more time using social networks and Malaysia Airlines is one of the most active airlines on social media including Facebook and Twitter. With MHbuddy we are pleased to provide our fans on social media an easy way to book a ticket without having to leave Facebook. In doing so, we have also opened another distribution channel for ticket sales, said Dr. Amin Khan, Executive Vice President, Commercial Strategy, Malaysia Airlines. A few airlines sell tickets on Facebook but, unlike Malaysia Airlines, none fully integrates into the users social graph or allows passengers to check-in. MHbuddy can be used in any country worldwide and really takes flight booking to another level.

As passengers book a flight on MHbuddy, they are reminded which of their friends live at the destination and also told of any that are planning to visit at the same time, prompting the booker to send a message. Travellers can also share their itinerary with friends and suggest the same itinerary to them.

With MHbuddy passengers can check in for their flights from Facebook; during seat selection they are shown the seats selected by any of their friends who are travelling on the same flight. This gives MHbuddy users another opportunity to connect with their friends.

Speaking at Innovation in Airline Distribution 2011 in London, Jim Peters, SITA Chief Technology Officer who heads up the SITA Lab, said, SITA has always focused on technological innovation that the air transport industry and passengers want. This is another example of how we are enhancing the travel experience for passengers and giving them applications that are relevant to the way they live their lives. This initiative is a great step forward and gives people who use Facebook the opportunity to do what Facebook does best keeping in touch and sharing life experiences with friends. SITA Lab is delighted to work with Malaysia Airlines to offer this ground- breaking service.

Since its establishment three years ago, SITA Lab has delivered numerous innovations, several of which were developed with Malaysia Airlines including the world's first kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad and an augmented reality application for the Apple iPhone to allow customers to pick up the best airline deals from nearby airports.

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