easyJet is one of Europe’s leading airlines, operating on over 600 routes across more than 30 countries with a fleet of over 200 Airbus aircraft. In the competitive world of air travel, the customer experience is key, and easyJet prides itself on providing a simple, streamlined end-to-end process. This is especially important at the baggage drop, where the easyJet Customer Host helps passengers start their journey. “98% of our bookings are online, and 95% of our passengers check in online,” says Chris Davies, Project Manager at easyJet, “so the Customer Host is the first person a passenger sees. They provide our customers with important information, such as flight locations and the existence and causes of delays.”
An App to Support Great Service
Customer Hosts are the face of easyJet, so in order to improve their ability to provide passengers with the information and services they need, easyJet decided to develop a mobile app called Customer Host Assist. “Using a mobile device, Customer Host Assist helps Customer Hosts provide information about bookings, find out the timing and causes of delays, and sell additional services,” explains Davies.
In order to create the application, easyJet hired Xamarin partner EPAM to handle the development. EPAM put together a team of three developers and in just two months created a proof of concept that’s now being tested in several airports.
Cross-Platform Code Sharing Provides Key to Success
easyJet wanted apps that could span platforms and support its current BYOD environment. In order to achieve this at a reasonable cost while maintaining rapid release cycles and improvements, EasyJet decided to take EPAM’s suggestion that the project be built using Xamarin.
EPAM estimates that up to 60% of the app’s code will be shared across iOS and Android. “We have a lot of business logic that can be shared,” says Ivan Kirkorau, Solutions Architect, EPAM. The app uses a Microsoft Azure backend and makes use of a portable class library that enables the company to share code across desktop and mobile applications. Xamarin Insights is used to catch exceptions during development.
The easyJet and EPAM teams have found this approach extremely valuable, with Kirkorau noting that, “Xamarin enables .NET developers to work on interesting mobile projects and use new technologies without having to learn a new language. In fact, sometimes Xamarin actually delivers better results than native development.” Maryia Shalimava, Project Manager at EPAM adds that, “from a business perspective, Xamarin gives you much more flexibility to extend your applications.”
A Customer-Centric App for a Customer-Centric Business
Davies believes the most important thing in creating an app is listening to customers. “As developers, we sometimes forget we work for an airline. It’s not just customers buying tickets… it’s our ground crew, our staff, the people on the floor. It’s important to see what they actually do so you give them what they truly need and not just what you think they need.”
This, along with the ease of cross-platform development provided by EPAM through Xamarin, has helped the company think more expansively about the place of apps in their business model. As Davies explains, “Ultimately, this app is a base to see how well it’s taken. We want to create other apps, such as one to assist our ground crew. More people are going to be using larger phones, and we want to use Xamarin to create a vault of apps that can help them do their daily jobs no matter what device they use.”View the Case Study