Impossible to connect? Think again.

On July 7th 2005, I was traveling from Tel Aviv, Israel to Manchester, UK. Since there were no direct flights on that date, I selected a flight from Tel Aviv to London Heathrow with one airline; and a connecting flight from London to Manchester with a different airline. The 3-hour stopover in London left me ample time to collect my luggage and check-in for the local UK flight. (In those days building one’s own flight schedule with different airlines, did not yet have the fancy name –virtual interlining.)

Unfortunately, July 7th 2005 was also the day of the London underground bombings. London airports had been temporarily closed down and our takeoff from Tel Aviv was delayed by 6 hours. When I landed in London, my connecting flight was history, my ticket was worthless, and Heathrow airport was closing down for the night. I know this is an extreme example for a missed connection. Still, it happened, and no-one was prepared to compensate for taxis, hotel, new flight plans, etc.

Driven by the massive growth of low-cost carriers, globalisation and the evolution of technologies, more and more travelers are adopting virtual interlining, which addresses the journeys of passengers travelling on connecting, but non-related flights i.e., with different airlines. As consumers, this is great news. It means having the ability to tailor the most cost-efficient, optimised flight schedule.

However, as opposed to regular connections, with virtual interlining travelers are on their own, and if they miss their next flight the airline considers them a no show and pays no further attention to them. Not to mention covering for the cost of flight changes, hotels and additional transportation expenses. Online travel agents could address this issue by including missed connection coverage in their virtual interlining packages. Today, literally all travelers expect to be able to buy travel-related insurance at the click of a button, and missed connection is no exception.

The most appealing types of insurance offerings are personalised, tailored to consumers’ specific concerns and claims free. To enable such an insurance experience, online travel agents need to offer insurance products that leverage machine learning techniques alongside parametric capabilities. Similar to rain protection insurance, missed connection guarantee can also be dynamically priced to ensure it is optimised per consumer, and does not eliminate the price advantage of virtual interlining.

Finally, if something goes wrong compensation and assistance is immediate, turning a missed connection incident into an opportunity for a great connection with consumers – a moment of faith and appreciation to the online travel agent.

About the Author
Elana Marom is a full stack marketer who believes that marketing is about being present, relevant and adding value, alongside understanding how customers want to buy and helping them to do so. As Director of Marketing at Setoo, she’s leveraging her extensive marketing experience in start-up and enterprise environments to raise awareness about the paradigm shift evolving in the insurance industry and drive business growth.