Photo: ReutersReading Time: 2 minutes
Despite many advances in airline systems over the last decade, there is one problem area in airline operations that technology hasn’t yet solved: cancelled flights and stranded passengers. Known as “irregular operations” (IROP), flights cancelled for non-weather reasons disrupt travel plans for hundreds of millions of US passengers each year.
For airlines, flight cancellations are a logistical and costly ordeal. Finding available hotel rooms for thousands of stranded passengers takes a toll on airline profits, employee satisfaction and customer retention. Fortunately, airlines and their passengers now have relief with Switchfly’s Airline IROP Management solution.
“One in three cancelled flights in the US were due to IROP during the first quarter of 2017, and with over 3 million passengers in need of immediate re-accommodation, we knew our IROP solution could address this issue right away,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of Switchfly.
“Our Airline IROP Management will radically improve airline communications and customer service for stranded passengers, while creating opportunity for airlines where previously there was only liability.”
Switchfly, a travel commerce platform with the most robust global network of activity, air, car, hotel and insurance products that transforms travel experiences, launched the IROP solution earlier in the year and has been trialing the product in several markets.
The high price of irregular operations and angry passengers
To date, the losses and operational disruption associated with IROP have been treated by airlines as a cost of doing business. Switchfly intends to transform this approach by disrupting the disruptions, to help airlines better satisfy customers and minimize associated costs.
- On average, an airline’s cost of rebooking all passengers from a cancelled flight in the US, including transportation costs, has been estimated at $250 USD per passenger and $4,000 USD per crew.
- For international routes, the cost of re-accommodating passengers on a single flight can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
- Each year, irregular operations (IROP) cost US airlines at least $8.3 Billion USD and even more in passengers’ time lost at an estimated $16.7 Billion USD.
- The loss in demand as consumers avoid travel due to IROP is estimated at $3.9 Billion USD a year,
Reduces customer compensation costs and relieves overwhelmed desk agents
“Airline IROP Management is easy to implement and completely scalable,” added Bertrand Kientz, CEO of Conztanz, Switchfly’s partner in the IROP solution and developer of the first independent travel data agility platform that enables more personalization and seamless integration and automation with airlines’ complex back-end systems.
“Airline IROP Management is turning a logistical, financial and travel nightmare into a distant memory for the airline industry and a less stressful experience for passengers across the globe.”