AWS for Industries

AWS Is How: Air Canada Creates Innovative Digital Experiences for the Benefit of Travelers

Have you ever needed to dash across a busy airport to catch your plane or book a flight at the last minute for an impromptu vacation? While most travelers are eager to explore a new destination, an improved customer air-travel experience can make the whole journey even more enjoyable.

If you happen to be flying Air Canada, Canada’s flag carrier, that improved experience is right at your fingertips. The airline’s mobile app, which it originally unveiled in 2019, now offers a heightened experience for air travelers and includes innovative features like turn-by-turn navigation in select Canadian airports to help you find your terminal, day-of-travel booking, and loyalty-plan functionality. The redesigned app is now easier to use with one hand, which is especially useful if you’re towing a carry-on through a crowd. You can even use your loyalty points to upgrade your flight on the fly.

Of course, providing a seamless customer experience is far from simple on the backend. Air Canada unveiled a new passenger service system along with a transformed loyalty program, Aeroplan. These services needed to come together so that customers could manage their travel and take full advantage of the Aeroplan program, all from one app. Air Canada also needed to support future app features, such as expanding the loyalty program, giving customers the ability to tailor inflight experiences, improving the day-of travel airport experience, and offering self-serve updates as needed.

To build its new app, Air Canada used an abstraction layer, which makes it simple to bring together multiple backend systems—such as Aeroplan and the Air Canada passenger service system—into a single interface. Combined with Air Canada’s need to add capabilities to its app with an emphasis on performance and scalability, the airline turned to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) serverless stack including AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Cognito, and AWS AppSync among others. As a result, Air Canada can add new features in a matter of weeks. “We use AWS to evolve and improve our digital products at pace based on customer feedback and business needs,” says Carlos Faxas, senior director of digital product and design at Air Canada.

Air Canada’s developers also cross-referenced data and made it accessible through API to websites, mobile apps, analysts, data engineers, and machine learning and artificial intelligence practitioners. To achieve this, the team uses AWS AppSync, a service that simplifies application development by providing a single endpoint to securely query or update data from multiple databases, microservices, and APIs. As a result, the airline has improved its website conversion rate by over 60 percent and reduced transaction-handling time by 32 percent.

After Air Canada released its new-and-improved mobile app, the app’s rating went from 2 stars to 4.7 stars in the App Store. The app was even honored with a 2022 Webby Award. Because Air Canada reimagined the mobile app experience from the perspective of busy travelers—and used AWS services to achieve reliability and high performance when it matters most—its customers can now enjoy a more seamless journey.

You can find out more about how Air Canada is using AWS to build innovative digital experiences for travelers in the new “AWS Is How” ad. And to find out more about how AWS is helping businesses like Air Canada to transform their digital capabilities, visit AWS for Travel & Hospitality.

Heidi Bonjean

Heidi Bonjean

Heidi Bonjean is the worldwide head of marketing for travel and hospitality at AWS. Over the course of her career, she has supported the travel and hospitality industry in marketing roles at corporate travel management agencies, a leading hotel brand, and a market research firm. Heidi has a Masters of Business Administration from DePaul University. In her free time, she loves traveling and trying new restaurants with her family.