JetBlue Airways & Hurricane Sandy
The air travel industry continues to grow rapidly given customer demand and changing market models. Within that growth, irregularities will continue to be a challenge for the industry; no matter how communication technologies and innovations simplify one to one information for both customers and staff. To achieve higher customer satisfaction carriers are upgrading contact to both internal as well as external customers and bring about efficiencies of scale and productivity and provide dynamic features and services to customers. Here is how 2e Systems built a crew notifications system that is the first of its kind in the industry.
On October 26th 2012, 2e Systems received notification that JetBlue Airways were preparing for potential Irregular Operations due to a large storm that was making its way up the East coast of the U.S., later called Sandy. This storm was the first since the implementation of the latest upgrade to the eeCrewConnect platform. The customer, JetBlue, is a major US carrier with over 180 aircraft, 75 international destinations and over 15,000 inflight crew members. For a carrier of this size, it is a logistical challenge to contact each and every crew member related to schedule changes, cancellation and crew member repositioning.
Key challenges of the platform that was required:
- Scalable system capacity to allow the carrier to send out a vast numbers of messages in parallel, with dynamic switching to alternate contact methods given the developing situation
- Pre-warning notifications to crew with estimated time for reassignments included, to reduce number of incoming calls to crew control during the storm
- Seamless detection of crew schedule changes from within the airline's crew management system with notifications pushed out to the affected crew members
- Escalation management tool for the crew control center to manage manual contact with crew members who were not reached
- Support of hotel layover and ground transportation changes
- Generation of a "Commuter Report" to determine likelihood of crew members arriving for duty during the storm
2e Systems developed a platform, called eeCrewConnect which afforded the airline the following features:
- Manage notifications to crew members and monitor a real time view of the operation
- Automatically contact crew members after rescheduling has taken place
- Send SMS and e-mails dynamically to ensure the airline crews are kept informed in real-time about changes
- Two-way communication between eeCrewConnect and the crew roster system so acknowledgements are automatically updated in each system
- Track acknowledgements, resend information or escalate in the case the crew member cannot be reached within a predefined timeframe
- Check-in reminders, where crew members can check-in starting 24 hours before duty, and receive reminders between 3 and 5 hours before scheduled departure if not yet registered
- Process hotel accommodation and ground transportation arrangements for crew members that are affected by an irregularity
- Initiate manual ad-hoc notifications if necessary
- Work in sync with the current in-house crew planning, operations control, HR systems or other system as required
- Can be readily integrated in a short amount of time
The newly upgraded eeCrewConnect platform not only dramatically decreased the number of crew members that needed to be contacted manually via the crew operations center but also resulted in a reduction of over 6,000 calls into the center compared to the last storm. Not only did the platform perform as designed and afford the carrier the means it exceeded all expectations for the carrier. Hurricane Sandy resulted in 1,700 flights being cancelled and the system sent out over 12,000 notifications in 2 days. In addition no flights were disrupted given lack of cockpit or inflight crew members.
"We are very satisfied with how the system worked during the storm and the support we got from 2e Systems during this irregularity. Not only did the system support all logistical crew related aspects during the storm, crew members were pleased on the continuous updates and added features the system affords. Crew member registration to the eeCrewConnect platform increased over 50% during the storm", says David Fuller, director SOC transformation management at JetBlue Airways.
The fully automated process affords crew management a clear overview of the situation and the ability to focus on other critical priorities and manually intervene when required.
2e Systems delivered the next generation platform in less than 6 months and the application has become an integral part of crew management within the carrier. Phil Douglas adds, "2e Systems developed the solution based on end-to-end requirements and critical needs within the organization. JetBlue has the ability to manage and automate large-scale crew re-positioning during irregular operations and provide up to date information via mobile or other online devices".
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™ with other focus cities in Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles (Long Beach), San Juan and Orlando. Known for its award-winning service and free inflight entertainment as much as its low fares JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) as well as super-spacious Even More Space seats. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. TrueBlue, JetBlue's exclusive rewards program for frequent fliers, allows customers to earn points even faster with partner programs, while redeeming awards starts at just 5,000 points for one-way travel, with no black-out dates. JetBlue serves 79 cities with 800 daily flights and plans to launch service in 2013 to Worcester, Massachusetts, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, as well as Lima, Peru, subject to receipt of government operating authority. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information call 1-800-538-2583 (TTY/TDD 1-800-336-5530), or visit www.jetblue.com.