How Airlines Manage Bookings Without One App for All Charters – Robb Report

Given business aviation’s reputation for premium service (and the associated costs), one would expect an equally enjoyable and easy way to book flights – via an app, surely, or at least one website, especially since commercial travelers have been using Expedia since the late 90s. But the diffuse nature of private aviation, with hundreds of mom-and-pop charter operators (many of them still work in spreadsheets), has hampered the development of a consolidated industry-wide solution.

“There are so many price permutations you keep cats,” says Andrew Collins, president and CEO of Sensitive jet, a leading jet card provider. “It’s an incredibly dynamic and complex market – in five minutes prices can be different. We don’t have a centralized way to access market prices like commercial airlines. »

Still, Sentient and several competitors are trying to solve the problem as comprehensively as possible, even during this period of peak demand when scheduling is a daily nightmare. Over the past 12 months, Sentient customers have booked 25% of their flights through the business appa number that Collins expects to reach 30% this year.

Roll up has also seen its usage of the app grow, currently accounting for 50% of bookings, up 15% from 2020. The company has invested tens of millions of dollars in technology as well as a new team, including the seat is at Seattlewith many of its members drawn from industries outside of business aviation, including commercial airlines, sites like Airbnb, and the wider tech industry.

“We want our app to be a discovery portal for our customers,” says Gene McKenna, chief product officer for Roll up, who previously worked at Groupon. “They should be able to handle all aspects of their current route.”

He says that, for many customers who book through the app, the “pilot is the first person they will speak to”, although catering, plane changes and flight delays can still be handled over the phone.

Challenger 300 from XO.

Courtesy of XO Jet

Given the non-stop demand of today’s market, the biggest challenge is to offer instant prices like the airlines do. Smell, roll and XO– the latter of which claims 90% of customers use its app – say they are able to accomplish this partly through their company-owned fleets, but also through their networks of preferred charter providers. For owners of small aircraft fleets, the size of these companies makes them more attractive partners than a regional broker who might book a single flight every few weeks.

The goal of these apps is to provide an easy and intuitive way to provide information and feedback for both the customer and the business. “There are a lot of things we could add to it,” says Sensitive jet‘s Collins, “but we try not to overwhelm the end user. We want them to have a sense of control.

McKenna agrees that usability is key. “The magic of the app is in hiding the complexity and the amount of information behind it,” he says, noting that Wheels Up uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to manage its fleet in real time and is constantly adding new charter operators to the system to provide more choice for its customers.

“This is a complex problem, and the more data points we collect, the more robust the algorithm becomes,” says Vinay Roy, chief product officer of Vista Global Holding, XO’s parent company. “As the marketplace digitizes supply and demand in real time and in one place, it allows customers to see more flight options and easily compare guaranteed prices.”

But despite this progress made by some of the biggest names in business aviation, the sheer number of options remains a major obstacle to a unified booking solution. According to the business aviation market research firm Jet Net, there are more than 550 charter companies in the United States (known as Part 135 operators), 500 of which have fewer than 10 aircraft; those with more than 50 planes have less than 10. Like all holy grails, a book-everywhere app can stay just out of reach.

Comments are closed.