Amadeus rolls out travel chatbot

SINGAPORE, 29 June 2020: Amadeus, a technology company serving the travel trade, launched a new online bot known as Travel-19 that claims to answer all our Covid-19 and travel questions.

Most of Amadeus’ online solutions target travel agents and focus on airline services, but this one is a good example of a travel trade software giant reaching out to travel consumers, many of whom plan and book their own travel.

“Although travel restrictions are starting to ease, we see big differences in rules and restrictions around the world, and the situation is changing all the time,” said Amadeus head of traveller & customer discovery, research, innovation & ecosystems, strategic growth businesses, Nicolas Martiquet in the media statement.

The online bot provides one easy-to-use interface to help
travellers plan and manage upcoming trips amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. It
includes answers to questions about trip cancellations, impacts on flights, and
the latest travel restrictions and government advisories in relation to more
than 350 airlines worldwide.

We tested the chatbot with a question on entry formalities to Cambodia.

It came up with the goodies, well most of them as the
chatbot omitted to say travellers must deposit USD3,000 in cash or via a credit
card with a bank at the airport to cover Covid-19 test fees, accommodation
during the testing period and potential quarantine costs.

It did mention that if “one person in your party is tested
positive, you will have to all undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated
government location.”

The actual rule states that you and the entire planeload of passengers you travelled with will share that same fate not just a particular “party” of travellers.

If everyone on a flight arriving at a Cambodian airport tests Covid-19 negative they can proceed with their holiday without entering the 14-day government-supervised quarantine. If just one reports positive everyone gets the “go-to quarantine” card. That’s when the USD3,000 deposit clicks in to cover all the costs that you have to pay including a second test a day before you are due to exit quarantine.

The definition of timely updates could be challenged too. The chatbot feedback was based on information updated on 11 June. Cambodia’s aviation authorities refreshed some arrival details on 26 June. The Amadeus chatbot will need to hit the refresh button more frequently.

The chatbot’s rules on travel to Cambodia

“Updated 11 June 2020: Cambodian frontiers are not closed, but there is restricted entry into Cambodia. First, all foreigners must apply for a visa: there is no entry which is visa-free. Part of the visa application is to provide proof of health insurance coverage up to $50,000 and a negative Covid-19 no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Second, upon arrival in Cambodia, visitors will be tested again, and be subject to a 14-day quarantine in all cases. After quarantining 24 to 48 hours for the results, if one person in your party is tested positive, you will have to all undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated government location. Otherwise, if results are negative, the quarantine can happen at any other place, and a new test will have to be taken after 13 days. All quarantine costs must be borne by the traveller.”

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