How Airlines Mine Personal Data In-Flight

One day soon, frequent fliers should expect flight attendants to know their birthdays, how they like their coffee, and what they’re likely to buy on board.

After years of dithering, airlines are learning to use the wealth of customer data they collect. Greater stability in an industry long roiled by bankruptcies is enabling carriers to invest in technology to personalize the flying experience and better target promotions. But the airlines sometimes struggle to do all that without making customers uncomfortable.

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