When flight disruptions strike, the ability to predict the worst is the best way out
By Kathryn B. Creedy
With all the things that can go wrong during a business trip, nothing drives travelers crazier than flight disruptions as they watch their well-laid plans disintegrate into an out-of-control mess. Now, new technology is not only designed to mitigate disruptions but to put travelers back in control both with self-serve and travel management solutions.
Some of these tools are so sophisticated, they predict problems and lay in alternatives before the traveler even knows they are delayed. “There has been a definite shift in the industry toward pro-actively helping travelers recover from disruptions or changes faster,” according to Travel Leaders Corporation president Gabe Rizzi.
The reason is simple. Disruptions cost travelers $60 billion worldwide, according to Lumo, a technology company which attacks flight delays and disruptions. The problems sometimes stem from air traffic management or weather. But the vast majority are caused by the airlines themselves, according to a Bloomberg study which shows carriers generate disruptions on six out of 10 flights. At 20.2 million minutes annually, the research found airline-caused delays are ten times those attributable to ATC and weather combined.
Lumo CEO Bala Chandan quantifies the cost. “There are two ways to think of ROI,” he explains. “Companies value a person’s time between $70-200 per hour, but for lawyers or consultants, it could be far more than that. If I can prevent a traveler sitting around the airport when they could be billing a client, I’ve done my job. There is also burnout. One of our clients is a consulting company that estimates the cost to rehire and train a replacement is $50,000, so preventing one person from leaving has a massive financial impact.”