RALFH — Why Westjet’s Latest Innovation Is A Hit

We have all been there — sitting in a cramped seat on an airplane, waiting for either drinks or food, when the flight attendants try and make their way down an aisle that is far too narrow. Enter Westjet’s latest innovation, RALFH, which stands for Robotic Automated Light Food Handler.

The video debut of RALFH arrived this morning, and it was an almost instant sensation. The RALFH video alone has nabbed nearly 110,000 hits while Westjet’s blog about the latest innovation is still attracting a great deal of attention.

Westjet’s Research and Development team are the brain trust behind RALFH, which is an in-flight beverage and food dispenser. According to the Westjet blog, RALFH is only the next step in progressive in-flight technology.

“We now enjoy the type of in-flight experience at 41,000 feet that our grandparents couldn’t even dream of,” Westjet’s blog says. “Each year, we strive to bring something new and unique to our own guests’ experience.”

Enter RALFH, which boasts space-saving capabilities in an already-tight airline cabin. It appears to coast along an overhead track and claims to go a long way towards being the latest way flight attendants can get their jobs done even easier and more effectively. To be sure, trying to maneuver a rather sizeable drink cart around the aisles of an airline cabin can be tricky, but with RALFH, Westjet promises to make the in-flight experience even more comfortable.

Stockhouse, in running the Westjet press release about RALFH, reports that Richard Bartrem, Westjet’s vice president of communications, hopes that RALFH will allow flight attendants to continue to give Westjet passengers memorable experiences.

“By using RALFH to order and distribute food and beverages, we have eliminated the need for our flight attendants to push a heavy cart up and down the aisle,” he said. “We can’t wait for RALFH to start providing an entirely new and fun way to wine and dine our guests.”

There are no apparent cost estimates as to how much Westjet plans on spending to bring RALFH on their jets, but to be sure, such an innovation will see passengers and flight attendants alike travel in greater style and comfort.

Certainly, the move towards using RALFH has gotten a great deal of notice from those who fly Westjet and beyond.

According to the Gate Boarding Area, Westjet is also offering a “No Foolin'” Sale in conjunction with the introduction of RALFH. Westjet traditionally launches such a sale this time every year in order to entice customers to board their jets for vacation or other parts unknown.

In reality, though, RALFH is a social marketing ploy by Westjet. The airline has a tradition of putting out a video every April Fools’ Day, which gets a great deal of notice every year. #KargoKids, their 2013 video, received over 1.2 million views while their #FurryFamily video received over 870,000 views.

These press releases and videos have only served to solidify their reputation as an airline with a sense of humor and as an airline that cares about its customers. RALFH is only one in a long line of videos in their tradition of April Fools’ Day pranks and has collected notice, as these videos usually do, from the social media community.

However, the Gate Boarding Area acknowledges there is a certain practicality to RALFH.

“I do think that that idea has some merit towards being potentially practical and useful,” Brian Cohen writes.

While it will be seen if RALFH does become someone’s brainchild for an airline eventually, it sure has done the job in securing more Westjet fans.

[Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]

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