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Innovation: A Fly on the Wall

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the farseeing folks at American Airlines were busily inventing their new “unbundled” website — www.AA.com. What wonderful stories could I have told you about the way airlines innovate? What I can tell you for dead certain is that American Airlines has just become the first full-service, major U.S. carrier to offer different levels of service based on the “fare family” concept. Have you checked it?

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the farseeing folks at American Airlines were busily inventing their new “unbundled” website — www.AA.com. What wonderful stories could I have told you about the way airlines innovate?

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What I can tell you for dead certain is that American Airlines has just become the first full-service, major U.S. carrier to offer different levels of service based on the “fare family” concept.

Have you checked it?

Go to the American Airlines website and look under the “Search by” heading for the “Price & Schedule” button — that’s the fare family option.

It’s an entirely new way to shop for flights in the U.S.

(Talk about a blast from the past. The fare family concept is something I know a bit about because — here’s the full disclosure statement for today — Amadeus, my company, helped pioneer this future-looking concept with its “Flex Pricer” faring platform.)

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Prior to this, your flight choice was based either on flight times or the fare. But “Price & Schedule” introduces fliers to “Matrix World,” where value reigns supreme.

When you make your flight selection based on value, you consider not just the price or date/time of liftoff, but all of the other service options the airline offers.

In Matrix World you see a chart chock full of variations that reflect combinations of service features, schedule choices, and price options.

What do you think about it this type of concept?

Do you find value in additional service choices?

Or is ‘Price Is My Co-Pilot’ still your bible?

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Personally, I prefer shopping American Airlines’ matrix-style display and I hope the carrier continues to improve the website, and that other airlines imitate it.

What do you think?

Are you satisfied with how airlines are beginning to use new online technology to make their booking sites smarter, more intuitive, and user-friendly?

And what about this newfangled concept of choice at airlines?

What service would you pay for in the future for that airlines don’t offer today?

Airline Futurist • Miami • rbuckman@amadeus.com • www.amadeus.com

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