Disrupting Travel Disruptions: Airline IROP Management
Switchfly’s “Disrupting Travel Disruptions: Airline IROP Management” industry brief puts bottom-line figures on IROP disruptions, while also discussing the soft costs such as ruined trips, social media backlash and brand damage. Figures Switchfly identified that have a negative impact on airlines include:
- One in three cancelled flights in the US were due to IROP in the first quarter of 2017, with over 3 million passengers in need of immediate re-accommodation
- 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.
“There’s a common misconception in the airline industry that in order to address complex issues like irregular operations, you must sacrifice margins,” said Justin Steele, Vice President of Product Development at Switchfly. “The reality is that it’s possible for airlines to transform IROP disruptions from a financial and logistical liability into an opportunity for customer – and employee – satisfaction, while building stronger brand loyalty and ancillary revenue.”
Transforming IROP from Liability to Opportunity
The “Disrupting Travel Disruptions: Airline IROP Management” brief also looks at how airlines are struggling to overcome legacy technology and modernize business processes such as re-accommodation. IROP cancellations require overnight accommodations and re-booking for thousands of stranded passengers. This has always been (and still is) a laborious, manual and offline process that leaves desk agents frantically searching for answers, and passengers waiting in long lines to speak with an agent or on hold with a call center. Paper vouchers for hotels are still common in the airline industry, despite the availability of other technological options, like mobile devices.
The brief demonstrates that too often, airlines are scrambling to respond to an unexpected disruption when they should already have a streamlined, effective solution in place. Switchfly urges airlines to take action, concluding that “Now is the time for airlines to make direct, immediate improvements to the IROP process and invest in passenger-centric technology that will transform a logistical, financial and travel nightmare into a distant memory for the airline industry.”