After working for airlines for almost 20 years, I noticed the one thing that has always been stressful, painful, and chaotic throughout these years is handling flight disruptions. As both an airline employee and a guest, I have faced disruption situations uncountable times and they are always a challenge. Airline staff is sent scrambling to rectify the problem while rebooking guests and guests are left to wait, unsure when they’ll be rebooked and how it will affect their travel plans.
These delays and cancellations are caused by various reasons: bad weather, technical issues, crew logistics, aircraft incidents, airport limitations and more. A recent survey by Cirium, the aviation data and analytics expert, revealed that in 2018, approximately 3.9 million flights – or 10,700 a day – were delayed by over 30 minutes or cancelled globally, affecting more than 470 million passenger journeys around the world 1.
Airlines always try to avoid or minimize disruptions and the cascading effect disruptions have on other flights and routes in the network. Flight disruptions cost an estimated US $60B worldwide or ~8% of airline revenue 2.
Airlines have various systems to inform and help customers of disruptions, and processes in place to minimize the impact of disruptions, but customers mostly feel that airlines do not do enough, that they do not understand the needs and priorities of guests, and do not empathize. And this disconnect between the airline and its customers has continued to widen despite so many technological innovations.
Though there are reasons for this gap, one of the clearly identifiable problems has been the lack of an effective and reliable communication tool between airlines and their guests. The need for such a tool is paramount as in a recent poll 90% of respondents reported that they would like to be alerted about flight delays by either text or app 1.
At Volantio we are committed to understanding this disruptions pain point and to filling the void through our OpsAssist product. Automating the entire disruption management process and providing a communication tool for airlines, OpsAssist allows customers to rebook themselves during disruption events. The tool is highly configurable through customizable business rules providing guests with multiple options that take into consideration impacted routes, passenger special needs, priority customers, important categories, and cost. OpsAssist can be quickly integrated with the airline’s revenue management and departure control systems.
On the guest side, OpsAssist empowers customers by providing them multiple alternate travel options, allowing them to decide on the best travel plan for them that suits their needs after the disruption. Within the system, customers can opt for rescheduling to the next available flight suitable to them, while also automatically processing refunds, or creating credits for future use instantly from their mobile device and without the hassle of a long call center wait.
At Volantio, we truly believe that improvement is a continuous process. Our world-class team of developers, data analysts, and airline experts make engagement with both airlines and travelers a priority to create an ever-better solution for airlines and satisfying experience for guests. Since we at Volantio all love to travel, we use each trip as an opportunity to learn more about the airline community and what fellow travelers value in their travel experience.
It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to know that I am helping ease the pain and stress of disruptions. Travel is always for a reason. It takes a lot of planning and effort, and, at times, has deep emotions attached. I am proud that I have the opportunity to help both airlines and millions of people worldwide better manage flight disruptions and to continue enjoying their journey.
1 Cirium, Global Survey Shows Travellers Still Struggle With Lack of Information About Delayed and Cancelled Flights, Says Cirium
2 Amadeus, Shaping the future of Airline Disruption Management