The long-haul LCC race just picked up hyper-speed – thanks to a simple travel hack.
For the past two years, there have been talks ongoing of expanding long-haul, low-cost services with domestic LCC feeder networks.
There has been one big drawback: IT.
EasyJet has worked around the systems connection challenges and partnered with Norwegian, WestJet and Loganair to launch a new ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ service.
Norwegian and Ryanair have been discussing the establishing of a feeder partnership for over two years, with integration of their reservations systems proving to be the main hurdle.
During a press conference at Aviation Festival last year, Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos highlighted systems integration as an impediment to interlining deals with other airlines saying:
“We can cooperate with everybody, whatever is good for the passengers we will do..but we have to be on the same system.
“The alliances have different bookings systems than the low-cost carriers do. There are a lot of restrictive things in these systems for low-cost airlines.”
One of the primary restrictions is the managing of connections on other airlines under a single passenger record, and another complication for low-cost airlines which have built their operating models around efficient point-to-point service, is the managing of checked bags for onward connections.
This is why the easyJet fix is clever. It leverages existing technologies to resolve these problems, without bothering to change in-house systems.
Icelandic travel search company Dohop’s “self-connect” bookings feature allows separate reservations to be booked and managed on a single transaction, allowing passengers full visibility of what connections will work best for their overall itinerary.
Passengers were still responsible to allow enough time to transfer bags and make it onboard their next flight.
Gatwick Airport’s GatwickConnects product, developed through a collaboration with Dohop, is a convenient way for passengers to transfer between airlines without interline passengers, including a GatwickConnects service desk at baggage reclaim, serving both domestic and international flights, which allows passengers to check their baggage through to the next flight without having to carry it to the check-in desk at arrivals.
David Gunnarson, Dohop’s CEO said at launch of the service:
“GatwickConnects is an excellent example of what Dohop’s technology is capable of providing, both to consumers and to airports. We are very happy that London Gatwick chose to use our technology for what is clearly a ground-breaking product in travel.”
By allowing for the creation of the first world-wide network between a major European LCC and leading long-haul LCCs serving markets around the world, these “easy” technology and logistics fixes have now led to a massive disruption to long-haul alliances, which have mainly relied on easy connections to hold a controlling market share.
In its announcement, easyJet says it plans to extend this service concept to other European airports in its network, including Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona.
To engineer-out any kinks in the process, easyJet is requiring passengers booking ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ flights to adhere to a minimum two hour 30 minute connection time.
The airline has advised customers that it will not delay aircraft for passengers making connections.