Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

IDEAS: Schiphol Airport Extends Time Slot Booking to Reduce Security Wait Times

8 months ago

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will be extending its time slot booking service for security checks.

Following a successful launch at the start of 2023 for Schengen destinations, the service can now be reserved for both Schengen and non-Schengen destinations. 

Credit: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Travelers making their way through Schiphol Airport can now reserve a time slot via the website or app as of three days before their journey, meaning they can head through security at a time of their choosing with a 15-minute time allocation.

When the booking is confirmed, a QR code will be provided which will be scanned by a member of Schipol staff upon arrival at security, who will then direct travelers to their entry check point.

The time slot booking service is currently being offered free of charge.

After the disruptions Schiphol Airport experienced during the Summer of 2022, this newly introduced service looks set to provide a more structured approach for passengers to navigate the airport.


At Skift, we are looking to unearth the most creative and forward-thinking innovations in travel through our Skift Ideas Franchise, which includes the Skift IDEA Awards, Skift Editorial Hub and the Skift Ideas Podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: dnata Looks to Robotics for the Future of Airline Catering

9 months ago

At the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg this week, dnata – one of the world’s largest air services providers – offered attendees a glimpse into the future of its catering capabilities with a demonstration of its new AI-powered cooking robot.

Credit: dnata/Moley Robotics

Developed by Moley Robotics, the cooking-machine utilizes AI technology to follow pre-recorded chef instructions, and is equipped with ‘multiple sensors and machine learning capabilities, enabling it to precisely measure ingredients and execute complex cooking techniques’.

You can take a look at one of Moley Robotics’ cooking machines in action below:

“We are excited to showcase a revolutionary cooking robot alongside our world-class culinary and retail offering at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo,” Said Robin Padgett, CEO of dnata Catering & Retail.

“We are constantly looking for ways to further improve quality and efficiency by leveraging the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation, across our global network. In recent years we have implemented a number of sophisticated solutions to optimise various aspects of our operations, ranging from consumption analysis to ingredient sourcing, inventory and waste management. We will continue to closely monitor trends and further integrate AI into our operations to harness the power of innovation.”

Credit: dnata/Moley Robotics

The cooking robot is the latest addition to dnata’s robotic line-up, with ‘Bella’ the hospitality robot already in operation in the UAE at Sharjah Airport’s (SHJ) lounge along with its partner, ‘Kitty’. 


At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking to the future of travel by highlighting the creative designs, technologies, and innovations that are driving the future of travel.

If you have an exciting initiative or innovation that deserves to be celebrated, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your application today. The deadline for submissions is June 20, 2023.

Airlines

Air France Quits Offering Customer Support Via Twitter

10 months ago

Blaming Twitter for changing its terms and conditions, Air France said on Friday it would stop offering customer support via the social media platform’s direct messages for its accounts worldwide. KLM, a sister brand, has yet to make a similar move.

Update: 4pm ET: An Air France spokesperson clarified, “Twitter’s recent change in access to its API has led us to adapt our commercial policy in terms of customer relations.”

Changed pricing terms for accessing its APIs (or application programming interfaces — a way of exchanging data) is a key reason. Twitter recently changed its product offerings for business clients, creating a new “enterprise” level for commercial users that use it heavily. There’s no public price list, but quoted price hikes of thousands of dollars a month, Platformer and The Verge reported.

New York City’s subway and bus operator said on Thursday it would no longer use Twitter to post real-time service alerts because of the new pricing, the New York Post reported.

In recent years, some travelers have found it more convenient to chat via Twitter with the French flag carrier than by phone or online contact forms.

“It would really be a shame if airlines and hotels would have to stop providing support via Twitter DM as I found this to be very effective, and it has saved me on more than one occasion. Especially communicating this way while currently being on a plane works wonders.

—Sebastian Powell, a contributing editor at Loyalty Lobby

We’ve yet to see other travel brands make a similar move. We asked Twitter for comment. Here was its auto-reply:

💩

 

Airlines

Southwest Hires Consultant to Assess the Airline’s Tech Systems

1 year ago

The CEO of Southwest Airlines issued a statement to customers with new details about actions the company is taking following the debacle in the last week of December. 

The most notable new information that CEO Bob Jordan shared is that the company has created a board committee to review the company’s response during that time, and consultancy Oliver Wyman has been hired to assess the airline’s systems.

The actions are in response to several issues that led to nearly 16,000 cancellations, caused primarily by a lack of investment in back-end technology. Southwest said the incident could cost the company up to $825 million

In the short term, the company is working on updating the crew recovery system, enhancing the crew communications tools, and establishing supplemental operational staffing

As Southwest has said, the company plans to spend about $1 billion on tech upgrades. The recent disruption will accelerate those plans, Jordan stated. 

He also stated that, as of the end of last week, nearly all bags have been returned and nearly all refunds and reimbursements have been processed. 

“We fell short of your expectations and the high standards we have of ourselves, and for that we are deeply sorry. It is our steadfast commitment to make the necessary changes to address the issues we faced and to regain your trust and confidence,” Jordan said in the statement.

The company is holding its quarterly earnings call next week, during which executives will likely further discuss the issue.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has said it is investigating the issue, and a group of U.S. senators sent a letter Friday demanding that Jordan answer questions about the incident.

Airlines

U.S. Unveils New Airline Customer Service Portal

1 year ago

Air travelers in the U.S. now have a one-stop shop when it comes to knowing what airlines will provide them with in the event of a lengthy flight delay or cancellation.

The new Airline Customer Service Dashboard by the Department of Transportation is designed to “ensure the traveling public has easy access” to airline commitments in the event of a disrupted trip, the regulator said Thursday. The commitments, which are largely a list of existing airline policies compiled together in one place, only apply to “controllable” events, or one where the airline is at fault, for example staff shortages.

(DOT)

“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices, and make informed decisions.”

For example, if a travelers flight is delayed more than three hours due to a mechanical problem with the aircraft, the dashboard shows that they are guaranteed a meal voucher on almost all major airlines except Allegiant Air. However, if their flight is cancelled, only American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines will rebook them on another carrier.

“Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers,” a spokesperson for trade group Airlines for America said.

The new dashboard follows a spike in flight delays and cancellations earlier this year that resulted in a blame game between airlines and authorities. While acknowledging their own staffing issues, airlines have claimed that air traffic control staffing has exacerbated the situation while the DOT has argued that the situation is primarily the fault airlines and weather. Whatever the reason, the regulator has moved to improve airline passenger protections, including a new rule that would guarantee cash refunds.

View the Airline Customer Service Dashboard