At British Airways, which started equipping its pilots with iPads five years ago, the tablets are a tool for streamlining the many tasks that compete for attention before takeoff. Passengers and baggage need loading, fuel needs pumping, flight plans need agreeing. When a pilot unlocks his iPad, it looks much like yours, albeit with a big, dark, British Airways logo as the background. But then the pilot opens a portal and gets a simplified view of the apps they'll need, as large blue buttons in neatly arranged rows. There's Go Fly, for inflight information; Yammer, for chatting with other people in the company; ESP-PIL, for letting the pilot pull up information on every passenger aboard, to see what status they are, and whether they’ve been delayed recently. If another holdup is imminent, the pilot can walk back through the plane and give that high-value, potentially aggrieved traveler some special attention.
If they didn't have time to meet everybody in person before the flight, pilots can pull up a photo for each crew member. An Airbus A380 carries 22 crew members, so these profiles help with security and teamwork.