Archive for November 30, 2016

Airline luggage tracking goes viral

One of the recent trends in the travel industry has quite possibly been an over-zealousness is investing in airline luggage tracking solutions. This trend has been a long time in the making, and we think there’s finally been an inflection point in the adoption curve leading to widespread implementations globally of new and innovative airline luggage tracking technology.

A potential reason as to why now is the time for airlines to begin widespread adoption of airline luggage tracking technology is due to the advances of the necessary and difficult precursor technology of self-service check-in. Automating the check-in and bag drop process is the first step in a long line of foundational advances necessary for comprehensive airline luggage tracking processes. Finally airports and airlines have adopted automated self-service check-in and bag drop counters in earnest, being the harbinger to a wave of technological and process transformation around the entire luggage management experience (both customer facing and internal to airports and airlines).

For example, Adelaide Airport recently has pledged to install new SITA self-service check-in and back drop kiosks. One of the reasons this is becoming easier for airlines is due to the standardization and growth of product offerings  by 3rd parties in the domain. SITA offers a product called AirportPulse, which is an airport operations technology, AirportPulse, that the Adelaide Airport has recently adopted. AirportPulse includes a business intelligence portal that offers end-to-end airport visibility at strategic and operational levels. According to Marisa Garcia (aka @designerjet), “It gathers data from all common-use infrastructure to analyze, report and benchmark passenger movements, and reports on relevant activities to help the airport better manage shared resources.” Technologies like these are necessary to lay a networked foundation of sensors, networks, analytics, and reporting that can work in tandem. Think internet of things for airports.

And the next frontier has shown to be airline luggage tracking. If you recall tripchi accurately predicted in early 2014 the need for this technology and the relative ease of implementation (if an airport or airline was willing to make the investment). We even participated in a hackathon to create a smart beacon solution called FlyBeacon for airlines to adopt.

Fly Beacon Pitch at Mash Hacks Hackathon in Cambridge

Airline luggage tracking solutions go viral: Fly Beacon Pitch at Mash Hacks Hackathon

Companies like SITA has developers software suites like BagJourney that includes airline luggage tracking status updates vian API, delivered to many data clients like smartphone and tablet apps used by operations staff and consumers alike. Add in to the mix cheap and smart bag tags using RFID and it’s a match made in heaven. And it’s finally taking off.

Just doing a quick Google search for airline luggage tracking reveals that the tops airlines have already made investments in this technology, and making the information available to customers via their websites:

  • United. Here’s an example of what the online tracking application looks like:

    United - Airline luggage tracking

    United – Airline luggage tracking

  • Delta. Delta has again gone one step above its competitors as RFID will replace bar-code manual scanning as mentioned above. It handles 120 million bags annually, and this solution will ensure that the bags are tracked at a 99.9% success rate. You can read more about Delta’s airline luggage tracking solution here.
  • American also offers a similar online tracking solution as United.

We can’t wait to see what the future of technology offers airlines and airports alike to leapfrog the passenger and internal operations experience ahead. Keep an eye out this holiday season for new airline luggage tracking systems rolling out at an airport near you.

Worst airlines for Thanksgiving travel

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we wanted to give you some insight around the worst airlines for Thanksgiving travel, as well as the worst airports. This is a follow-on to the Thanksgiving travel wrap we gave last week as part of our newsletter.

We found some great data around both worst airports and worst airlines for Thanksgiving travel to share. Let’s start with the airlines. Read more

Thanksgiving travel 2016 – tripchi newsletter

Thanksgiving travel 2016 – November edition

It’s apparently November but nobody told that to Mother Nature, who is still treating us like it’s the end of summer (at least from our vantage point in Colorado). With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away and Christmas right around the corner, the busy holiday travel season is upon us. Have you booked your flights for Thanksgiving travel 2016?

If you haven’t, don’t – you might as well wait until the last minute at this point. The busiest travel days this year will be the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving, as well as the Wednesday before. The lightest day will be Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, so consider flying in that morning, especially if you still haven’t gotten your Thanksgiving travel 2016 flights.

In fact, the tipping point for finding cheap Thanksgiving travel 2016 flights has already passed. According to CheapOair – “Most searches will be done on the 11th and 12th, but most people will commit on the 13th.” Combined with the fact that airlines evaluate inventory with an eye towards lowering fares 10-14 days in advance, the 13th becomes a critical day. Aw, shucks.

On the demand side, airlines are expecting a 2.5% increase in Thanksgiving travel 2016 passenger traffic. To account for this on the supply side, airlines are taking measures to up capacity and the number of flights to meet this increase in demand. Sources say that airlines are, on average, adding 74,000 seats each day during the Thanksgiving travel 2016 period. It”s anticipated that more than 27.3 million travelers (a Thanksgiving travel record) will fly U.S. airlines worldwide from 18-29 November this year. This figure is up 2.5 from last year. Adding 55,000 daily passengers as compared to last year, airlines expect to be carrying 2.27 million travelers on average daily. This anticipated increase is below the purportedly additional 74,000 airline seats per day. So, while Thanksgiving travel 2016 will be, and continues to be, a nightmare, at least you will be able to get where you need to go with the added capacity.

And, you’ll be able to do it in a cost effective way this year. The average cost of a Thanksgiving travel 2016 round-trip flight this year is $409, following a historic 9.6% decline in fares earlier in the year. We covered this as part of our fare wars blog a while back.

Thanksgiving travel 2016 is not the busiest day of the year for air travel

Thanksgiving travel 2016 is not the busiest day of the year for air travel

Another interesting and lesser known fact is that the Thanksgiving travel rush isn’t even the busiest day for air travel in the year. Contrary to popular belief, the busiest travel day of the year is not actually the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – it’s actually August 7 (at least in 2015). But, the Sunday after Thanksgiving does come in at number 2, according to Quartz.com. In general, the July-August is busier than November-December.

As you’re going through your Thanksgiving travel 2016 journey, keep the tripchi airport app in mind. If you’re looking for a #layovertip or dining or shopping options during that long(er) layover, of course you can bring up the tripchi airport app and find a listing of what’s around you based on your flight time and the Concourse you’re leaving from. If you’re passing through any of the airports we cover, we’d love to get your feedback! Find these tips and more on the tripchi airport app.

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Airport food trucks and mobile dining

Foodies of all shapes and sizes will enjoy this week’s tripchi airport app blog on airport food trucks and other forms of airport mobile dining. Spurred to research this topic by the recent HMS Host Press Release on airport food trucks, we’ll take a look at the best airport dining options that are in a mobile format.

Airport food trucks - courtesy of HMS Host

Airport food trucks – courtesy of HMS Host

The food truck craze that swept North America in the last 10 years is also now taking hold in the aviation industry. Thanks to forward thinking airport restaurateurs like HMS Host, property management companies, and airport authorities too, an airport dining revolution is taking place right in front of our eyes.

The HMS Host press release highlighted why airport food trucks/mobile dining ventures are attractive to the airport restaurateur. The logic goes like this: if an airport restaurateur can distribute airport food trucks strategically throughout all gates, and not just in the concourse hub/mall areas, more people will find accessible food options and spend more money. The other attractive selling point to the business owner is the ability to be mobile and move from gate to gate, possible as flights arrive and people get off the plane feeling hungry (this idea of course may not be approved by the airport authority and therefore may not be viable).

Besides just the obvious short-term profit-driven reasons why airport food trucks are a good idea, companies like HMS Host also see these channels of food delivery the key to a broader innovation strategy. For HMS Host, that includes mobile app integration with Grab and Kallpod, including airport delivery services. Kudos to Grab to doing what tripchi could not do (point of sale integration).

As such, HMS Host has been on the forefront of innovation around the concept of airport food trucks. In fact, the company recently launched several airport food trucks and carts.

  • E Komo Mai Wagon at Honolulu International Airport
  • Wiki Wiki Wagon at Maui International Airport

Both of these mobile dining options offer locally oriented specialties fused nicely with global tastes. You can check out some Hawaiian BBQ chicken tacos with crunchy slaw as well as other tasty snacks.

Wiki Wiki HNL - airport food trucks example - courtesy of HMS Host

Wiki Wiki HNL – airport food trucks example – courtesy of HMS Host

Here’s a few more airport food trucks that we like:

  • Chicago O’Hare’s Mobile Ala Cart
  • Memphis International Airport’s Food Cycle. This option is mobile to the extreme because it actually delivers food to travelers at their gates.
  • Tampa International Airport’s food truck initiative in the cell-phone waiting lot. This airport program started in 2012, and the schedule for which airport food trucks will be by when are located on the Tampa airport Facebook page.
  •  San Francisco International Airport’s allows three airport food trucks outside of Terminal 1 every Thursday. Don’t forget that tripchi covers SFO in the tripchi airport app.
  • Long Beach Airport’s “Truck’n Tuesday” has a different group of airport food trucks every week.
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport’s daily food cart serves hots dogs and bratwurst.
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Twist of Spice food trailer has been serving wraps, paninis and Mexican food in the cellphone lot since 2013. tripchi covers SFO in the tripchi airport app.

Some airport officials at SFO commented that they only make $300/month with an airport food trucks operation, and that the primary driver to airport food truck introduction was to improve the passenger experience. Whatever the motive, profit #paxex improvement, tripchi is glad this trend is taking airports by storm. Someday soon, airport delivery services will be ubiquitous – airport food trucks are the first step towards that inevitability.

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