Two Sides of the Same Coin

01 Sep 2013

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Ben Parkison

Developing better airline applications for planning, operations and business strategy creates a better passenger experience.

Relative to many other industries, airline planning and operations require a sophisticated and continually evolving toolset. Not only do technology changes like lighter, stronger aircraft materials, innovations in aircraft fuel and the leveraging of new online tools change the way airlines work, but fields supporting those tools, such as operations research, are continually improving.

Today, designing modern, web based applications for airlines with a greater degree of system integration, sophistication and responsiveness can change the way an airline is able to operate. By adopting intelligent system designs and modern toolsets, airlines can make their business more efficient, responsive and profitable.

But, it doesn't stop there.

A more streamlined integration of the variety of data an airline is dealing with, along with the development of models to consume and analyze real time information suddenly puts new capabilities at the fingertips of not only the airline, but their customers. We live at a time when consumers are using incredibly sophisticated applications for everyday purposes: Social media, shopping and entainment.

These everyday apps are what your business application is being compared to. And in the fast paced, data rich airline indusrty, there is an untapped opportunity to provide a customer experience equal to the standard that customers expect in a digital environment. By bringing internal applications, data sources and analysis tools up to modern standards, airlines can also bring their customer into the loop, giving them the experience they expect from any other service, and should expect from the airlines.

An informed customer who feels in control of their experience and is allowed to understand the product they are purchasing is a customer who will leave satisfied, even when the unexpected happens. The customer experience can be a continuous and participatory one, from planning a trip, to the airport, to the flight, to once they're back home and, especially, when an itinerary doesn't go as planned.

Applied by Design thinks it's time to focus on building products for the airlines that help solve problems for both the business as well as their passengers. There are vast opportunities for airlines to do business smarter, more efficiently, and in a way that looks out for the bottom line and the customer at once.

To do so, an airline needs to start by rethinking both how it designs and uses its own internal tools as well as what it means to connect and engage with its customers. It demands an attention to detail, to progressive design thinking,a multi-diciplinary understanding of the tools needed to run an airline, and an unwavering focus on every aspect of the customer experience.


Ben Parkison