Drinks before a flight are often used to help relax passengers and ease their travel experience. Airport bars have essentially become a staple of travel for many. But what happens when you replace a bartender with an iPad? The result– unsatisfied and unhappy travelers who are still waiting for their thirst to be quenched!

Let’s say you order a drink from a bartender, and they tell you that they are currently out of that particular alcohol. Of course, any diligent bartender would then offer a different drink, something he/she knows would be similar. Conversely, you’ll get no such hospitality from a device like an iPad. Rather than be given a recommendation to replace what drink you had chosen, you’ll instead be given a prompt– ‘Sorry, that drink is unavailable.’ At least it said sorry, right? Customer service is simply not something that an iPad is programmed to do.

When a bartender asks what you would like to drink, there is a sense of personal service. There is now a personal connection and interest. While we can all agree that everyone appreciates a good drink, we can also acknowledge you come to a bar not just for the booze but oftentimes human interaction as well. When selecting a drink from a list on an iPad, not so much. All personality is gone– just like that. It’s just you, your drink, and the iPad. Simply put, you can establish a repertoire with a bartender. You can learn things, laugh, or just converse; and no two interactions will be the same. The whole process is enhanced, the bartender can read the room. He/she will be able to ask you if you’d like another drink once you’ve finally put that first one back. The easygoing attitude of the bartender and overall convenience helps the consumer choose more quickly, and you as a consumer are more likely to keep drinking if someone’s beckoning you to. Inputting your drink over again on a tablet is just time consuming and annoying, not to mention impersonal.

When the system in place works, there is no reason to change it. And when the system needs to be changed it should help customers, not discourage them from making a purchase. The changes should bring added value to the consumer and should be tested to make sure it works before implementing it. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!