Irregular operations, or IROPs, are flights canceled for non-weather related reasons, and have been determined to not only cost billions of dollars in airline revenue, but also billions of dollars in lost demand as passengers hesitate to rebook or otherwise avoid air travel altogether.
In response to this disruption, Switchfly - a travel e-commerce platform with a network of hotels, cars, airlines and insurance products - released an industry whitepaper detailing just how much this costs the industry, and how the revenue loss can actually be converted into an opportunity.
Switchfly's research for 2017 reveals the following:
- Approximately one in three flights was classified as IROP. This left more than three million passengers in need of rebooking and accommodation.
- Each flight rebooking cost each airline about $250 per person and about $4,000 per crew.
- The international IROPs left the airlines to take tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket per rebooking.
- In total, IROPs cost U.S. airlines at least $8.3 billion and even more in passengers' time lost at an estimated $16.7 billion.
Despite this: "The reality is that it's possible for airlines to transform IROP disruptions from a financial and logistical liability into an opportunity for customer – and employee – satisfaction, while building stronger brand loyalty and ancillary revenue," says Justin Steele, vice president of product development at Switchfly.
Specifically, Steele recommends airline take a proactive approach to rebooking or otherwise accommodating passengers that experienced a disruption as a result of IROPs.
Subscribe to our newsletter below
In other words, there should be a "streamlined, effective solution" in place so that any IROP cancelations result in little, if any, downtime for the passenger.
"Now is the time for airlines to make direct, immediate improvements to the IROP process and invest in passenger-centric technology that will transform a logistical, financial and travel nightmare into a distant memory for the airline industry," says Steele.