I have been catching up with the founders of Changeyourflight, the Barcelona-based startup that aims to help both airlines and passengers solve the problem of last minute flight plan changes and cancellations.
The idea is simple, on paper, passengers that need to cancel their flights can do so, and get their money back, whereas airlines are able to re-sell the seats and optimize their inventory.
Changeyourflight launched with Italian airline AirOne, now absorbed by Alitalia, and has been focusing a lot on the Asian air travel market, they also partnered recently with Scoot, Singapore Airline's low cost long-haul carrier, to make available their ticket refund service to clients of that airline...but, most importantly Changeyourflight is becoming more of a provider to the airline industry by leveraging one of the core assets it has been building, its technology to optimize airline revenue.
For example, in addition to the original ticket refund service, Changeyourflight has launched "Flight Changer", a technology, in use already with Malaysian airline Firefly, that helps airlines get the most out of their seat capacity on high demand routes by making it possible for the airline to prioritise those passengers that are willing to pay more for the trip.
The underlying idea is, again, that different passengers assign a different value to their flights and time. For example, let's say you booked a really cheap flight months in advance, but as the date of travel is getting closer that particular route is seeing strong demand, maybe because there has been a popular event in that particular destination such as a sports final, planes are filling up and prices going up. The airline could make a lot more money out of the ticket you purchased if it could claim it back...or can it?
What if you do not mind flying to your destination a day or two later than originally planned if they offered something attractive enough in return, such as cash, or perks (who does not fancy an upgrade?). A win-win solution as long as you are able to spot these opportunities and act on them.
This is precisely what Changeyourflight software is helping airlines do: identify and act on those win-win situations as they arise. Just as search engines and ecommerce are increasingly able to offer customized choices to their clients, expect airlines to move in the same direction.