Switchfly Helps Airlines Assist Stranded Passengers

A new flight cancellation solution from Switchfly helps airlines assist stranded passengers in need of re-accommodation.


Despite many advances in airline systems over the last decade, there is one problem area in airline operations that technology hasn’t yet solved: canceled flights and stranded passengers. Known as “irregular operations” (IROP), flights canceled 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 canceled 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 the 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 transform travel experiences, launched the IROP solution earlier in the year and has been trialing the product in several markets.

For airlines using Switchfly’s Airline IROP Management solution, stranded passengers are immediately alerted by SMS or email if their flight is canceled and requires re-accommodation. Switchfly’s comprehensive hotel supplier network and inventory of close to half a million unique hotel properties give stranded passengers hotel choices, while airlines save with deeply discounted rates, and can integrate business rules to configure hotel options based on passengers’ loyalty program membership and status.

Passengers can view available nearby hotel rooms and make their selection using a mobile device or laptop without ever having to approach the airport kiosk. Passengers can also purchase optional ancillary upgrades using cash or loyalty points (or cash + points), giving them more flexibility and choice during a stressful time.


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.”

To interview Switchfly CEO, Daniel Farrar or for more information about the company’s Airline IROP Management solution, please contact Vanessa Horwell at vhorwell@switchfly.com or visit switchfly.com.

About Switchfly

Switchfly, Inc., is a travel e-commerce platform with the most robust global network of hotel, car, air, activity and insurance products for transforming travel experiences into maximum loyalty & revenue. Headquartered in San Francisco, Switchfly generates more than $2 billion in revenue for its clients annually and facilitates the redemption of more than 40 billion reward points and miles each year. The company’s global client roster includes American Airlines, JetBlue and LAN Airlines; IAG Avios, Lufthansa Miles & More and United MileagePlus; InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts; and Groupon and Living Social. For more information, visit www.switchfly.com.

About Conztanz

Conztanz is a French software and IT consulting company, dedicated to easing IT and digital transformation for the air transport industry and improving the end-to-end traveler experience. ConztanzOne, the company’s travel data agility platform, operates as an intelligent bridge between airlines’ Passenger Service Systems and other operational systems, orchestrating all relevant data into one single place. Conztanz customers include BRA, Luxair, Boliviana de Aviaçion, Kuwait Airways, CityJet, Air Tahiti and Air Caledonie. For more information, visit www.conztanz.com.

Travelivery San Francisco by Jeremy Womack

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