Author: Judith

How Airlines Are Using Itineraries to Manage Employee Travel Plans

How Airlines Are Using Itineraries to Manage Employee Travel Plans

Airlines Cash In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns Are Becoming a Reality

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Air travelers are now in a position to switch companies without penalty, an industry-wide trend that’s now driving significant changes in how U.S. networks are serving and planning for the future.

At the same time, some airlines have been quietly ditching long-standing policies that limited how and when they could move employees between airline and non-airline jobs.

Such flexibility is changing the way those networks deliver service to travelers.

With more employees now able to travel on their own, airlines are also moving to adopt more technology-powered ways to manage the travel plans of thousands of employees at all levels.

For example, an airline may deploy a system that enables a manager to track the vacation schedule or other travel plans of a manager’s boss and then make the relevant changes to those plans. Another option might be to enable a manager to create or change his or her own schedule online directly on the system.

In other cases, more advanced networks such as IntelliJet Inc.’s GoBoard, which was recently acquired by Southwest Airlines Co., enable managers to create a personal itinerary — similar to an airline reservation — to better plan their travel.

“Airlines have shifted to thinking of travel, the way one would want to think of an airline, as a digital process,” said Jeff Mankins, a vice president at IntelliJet, which made its first foray into the travel-planning market in 2005.

So-called itineraries are much more widely used now — and more valuable to airlines and their customers — than the paper-based reservations and booking tools that used to be the norm, he said.

Some carriers have begun using itineraries to make bookings directly for their employees, with or without the involvement of the airline.

Air New Zealand said Tuesday it now uses GoBoard to book service to destinations in Europe in the event of weather concerns. “We don’t assume there is snow on flight departure, we use our GoBoard as a contingency plan,” said Richard Jones, the New Zealand carrier’s managing director of

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