SkyTeam, the global airline alliance co-founded by Delta Air Lines, has reached a milestone in the development of advanced technology enhancing its current tech hub with new functionalities. Unique to SkyTeam and known as the SkyLink Digital Spine, the new functionality is intended to gradually facilitate the 20 members of the alliance to exchange seat maps and cross-sell ancillary products. Ultimately, it will help member airlines solve common travel pain points and offer customers greater simplicity and convenience when flying across multiple SkyTeam members.
The SkyLink Digital Spine will bridge the technology differences between members, allowing for the format translation and exchange of messages. Thanks to the SkyLink Digital Spine, it will now become possible for the customer to seamlessly book free seats, paid for seats and other ancillary products for all legs of their journey, regardless of which SkyTeam member they booked their ticket with.
The Seamless Ancillaries Program is just one benefit that will positively impact customers following the development of the Digital Spine. Delta and Aeromexico will be the first to take advantage of the technology, gradually rolling-out the product from mid July 2018. Customers booking via the airline’s website will be able purchase seat products at their own convenience, for their entire journey when flying on an itinerary with the two airlines.
"SkyTeam is the alliance that listens to its customers and we continue to invest in innovative technology to make their traveling lives easier," said Perry Cantarutti, SkyTeam’s CEO. "The SkyLink Digital Spine is the latest in a long line of industry-leading initiatives that we have developed to solve travel pain points that frequent flyers come up against most."
Designed in response to customer feedback and airline member input, the new functionality forms the backbone of the alliance’s many progressive technical initiatives. Application of The Digital Spine will be significantly expanded over the next three years. Gradually more members will use the platform on interline itineraries to e.g. capture and find baggage, provide seamless check-in, supply all boarding passes, show real-time availability of seats and enable the purchase of ancillary types with miles.
Research: Identifying customer pain points
The development comes as research commissioned by SkyTeam identified a lack of seamless ancillaries as one of the top travel gripes for frequent travelers.
- 60 percent have experienced and been inconvenienced by a lack of a complete ancillary offering across multiple carriers.*
- Two-thirds of business travelers identified choosing a seat on all flights using a single website as being ‘very important’.**
- 7.5 million, the amount of customers that are expected to benefit annually, from the improved online experience offered by SkyTeam’s seamless ancillaries program. ***
2018 & beyond: SkyTeam’s focus on technology
Already a successful year for innovations, 2018 has seen SkyTeam implement and develop several technology-driven products in response to its customers’ needs:
- SkyTeam Rebooking, officially launched in January, is an innovative technology solution designed to reduce inconvenience caused to customers by flight delays, cancellations, and diversions. Already helping thousands of customers during irregular operations at 43 airports worldwide.
- SkyTeam recently launched airport maps, designed to help customers find their away around SkyTeam’s global hubs, reducing stress and making the transfer process smoother.
SkyTeam has worked together with TCS to develop the Digital Spine Infrastructure to transform messages & exchange these between members which are connected to the Digital Spine.
Research carried out on behalf of SkyTeam in 2017:
SkyTeam is the global airline alliance with 20 member airlines working together to offer seamless travel on an extensive global network. SkyTeam customers can unwind in 600+ lounges as they travel, earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles. SkyTeam Elite Plus customers are eligible for SkyPriority services. The 20 members are: Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. SkyTeam welcomes 730 million customers each year on more than 16,609 daily flights to 1,074 destinations in 177 countries.