Can Technology Save Your Trip?

Flight disruptions are nothing new; they’ve been a burden on travelers since the beginning of commercial air travel. But recent publicity around airline system outages (and another, and another) and massive weather patterns has made flight delays and cancellations — and how the travel industry can better address them — a hot topic again.

Industry experts are finally beginning to take an honest look at the true cost of flight disruptions — which extend far beyond just the misery faced by travelers.

The financial impact of disruptions is staggering — $60 billion per year, or 8% of total airline revenue — as estimated in a new white paper released this week by T2RL and Amadeus. Although the authors suggest the renewed “boardroom interest” among airlines is prompted by rising passenger numbers and the growing publicity around technology incidents, we believe their focus on disruptions is also financially motivated — and rightly so!

As a first step, airlines are beginning to speak more openly about the challenges of operating within an imperfect technology system. Last month, a trade conference panel discussion featured the CEOs of Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines discussing the realities of flight disruptions. While acknowledging that airlines can do more to invest in modernizing their computerized systems, they also pointed out that “coming back online” for airlines means more than just getting a technology platform up and running again — it involves recovering from a ripple effect that touches multiple flights, and accounting for passenger and crew safety.

Balancing the realities and limitations of the current system during a flight disruption is a challenge, both operationally and financially, for airlines, agents, and travelers.

At Freebird, our goal is to improve the travel experience for everyone, from the traveler to the airline to the agents. We leverage technology with two goals in mind: (1) to solve shortcomings of our current system, and (2) to empower travelers and business partners to make informed decisions using real-time predictive analytics — which we call Freebird Travel Intelligence.

We believe making information more readily accessible — and providing a simple rebooking tool that empowers travelers during a disruption — will help improve efficiencies and satisfaction for everyone throughout the travel ecosystem.

If you’re a TMC or travel manager, we’d be happy to share the ways we can help in more detail. You can reach me at ethan@getfreebird.com.

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