David Brett, president of Amadeus Asia Pacific, sheds light on the changing travel landscape and how technology is helping airlines to keep customers happy.
When selecting an airline to fly with, what factors do you consider?
Price is probably a major consideration, and of course you will select the airline that offers flights at times that are most convenient. Maybe you are willing to compromise on price for a flight at the right time, or vice versa. You might have a preferred airline because of its reliability for fast check-in and on-time departures. You may be more concerned about the in-flight experiencedo they offer good entertainment, an enjoyable meal, polite service, and creature comforts such as blankets and pillows. But I bet you have never considered which airline has a superior IT system, and in the past it probably wouldnt have mattered, with most airlines operating on a similar IT infrastructure.
But today, IT is something that you should be aware of. Why? Because todays modern airline IT systems have the ability to alter the travel experience quite dramatically, from booking through to check-in and baggage handling.
Do you have a story of travel gone wrong?
Almost everyone has one. A story to tell about the time they flew with a particular airline and things went horribly wrong. Perhaps when booking the flight the wrong passenger details were recorded or the website crashed at the crucial moment. Or when checking in, the airline had no record of the booking. Lost baggage, frequent flyer points that never materialise…the list of horror stories goes on. What most passengers dont realise is that many of these issues can be avoided if the airline is using intelligent IT systems.
Right now, many airlines are still using what are known as legacy IT systems in other words, dinosaur software that is no longer capable of handling the demands that are placed on a modern-day airline. They sometimes cannot cope with the vast number of bookings that an airline processes today, and there is a lot of room for error if information is entered incorrectly. These older systems are also unique to each airline. If a carrier decides to merge with another airline or join an alliance such as Star Alliance, OneWorld or SkyTeam, their systems will not be compatible and the partnership wont operate seamlessly if a passenger wants to book flights between partners.
Amadeus has seen increasing demand for e-commerce technologies that help airlines to increase revenues and improve the online shopping experience via their websites. However, in order for these Internet technologies to be most effective, they must be linked to an efficient internal IT system to deliver what the website promises.
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