American Airlines Flex Flights has two very important core inspirations: Customers who: Want good deals
- Want to travel
- Want a tool to automatically find flights and deals they might want
- Don't necessarily care when exactly they travel, or don't care where exactly they travel
- Don't want the hassle and stress of constantly checking for good deals
American Airlines, who wants to:
- Offer customers a useful feature
- Avoid planes taking off leaving with unfilled seats
- Find a way to sell unbooked seats a week or less before departure
- Unload difficult to sell or poor performing seats.
- Find a good way to advertise these deals
- Make money off those seats
- Preserve revenue by advertising seats directly rather than only changing their price
American Airlines usually has no problem selling airplane seats well in advance. The problem that they, like many other airlines, face are those few pesky seats that remain unsold a week or less before departure. While these seats have potential for good revenue, they can also be a loss if the plane takes off and they are not filled. Customers who want to book flights often have concerns about price and can get stressed or overwhelmed by the process of trying to find the best flight in a given time period. This can be especially hard for customers who don't care about the minor details of a flight, like if it departs on Saturday at 2am or Sunday at 5pm.
What Flex Flights does is connect American Airlines and its customers in order to find a solution that works great for both parties. Customers will be able to enter in any time period in which they wish to travel, along with destinations that they are interested in traveling to. American Airlines can then list flights that they are struggling to fill and offer incentives to book these hard to sell seats. Flex Flights would then market these flights to customers with matching requirements and analytics, thus automating the processes of scouring for a good flight.
A retired customer living in Abilene, TX might want to visit their family in Lubbock, TX, yet not particularly care about when exactly the flight is nor want the hassle of checking for flights online. American Airlines might have a flight to Lubbock with seats that it cannot sell. Traditionally, they would have to discount this ticket by 20% in order to guarantee the plane is full. With Flex Flights they can instead offer customers a 10% or 15% discount to book that flight, since the retired customer is more likely to see this and book the flight. The customer is now able to get a good flight without much hassle and American Airlines has increased its revenue.
A webapp that helps market hard to sell seats to flexible customers giving them savings and increasing American Airlines’ revenue.
Features and Integration
Flex Flights is built using angular.js for frontend and node.js for the backend. It uses Twilio for phone number user verification, MongoDB as the database, and express for the server.
How we built it
The backend is an express REST api and was built using node.js. Everything is stored on mongoDB atlas. The flight date was simulated using the code provided by American Airlines. Modifications were made to simulate prices and the number of remaining seats. Both REST apis were deployed on Heroku. The frontend was written using Angular 4 with Bootstrap for styling. Angular’s focus on single page applications helped us create a smooth and beautiful user experience with no jarring loading screens while Bootstrap eliminated most of the grunt work of styling, leaving us free to focus on the finer details.
Challenges we ran into
- Getting everything working on time
- Integrating the frontend and backend
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Finishing the project on time
- Coming up with a great Idea
- Making a clean UX with a great backend
- Having a solution that is unique in the challenge.
- Coming together as a team.
- Communicating with the American Airlines team
What we learned
- Angular is difficult, React might have been a better choice
- It's important to keep on task and communicate.
- We had a great opportunity to learn how to use new technologies such as Twilio and MongoDB.
What's next for American Airlines Flex Flights
We hope to continue expanding the features and uses of this extremely powerful platform. We would like to add other travel options partnered with American Airlines, including, hotels, excursions and other benefits that can help entice customers whilst not harming operating costs.