easyJet passengers given the opportunity to choose 'Allocated Seating' on all flights

easyJet

Sopra Steria has worked in partnership with easyJet for many years providing application development and support services for the airline's business-critical operating systems.

easyJet is Europe's leading low-cost airline; it operates more than 200 aircraft on over 600 routes across 30 countries and serves over 57 million passengers a year.

The core of easyJet's business is the delivery of high-quality, low-cost services based on an agile business model with IT as the enabler: all of its IT systems can be accessed from secure servers anywhere in the world. Fast, flexible and reliable IT applications that enable the airline to run on time are key to helping easyJet stay ahead of the competition in the fast-paced aviation market.

Background

After customer feedback highlighted that passengers favoured an allocated seating model and the flexibility to choose their own seat the airline decided to trial this across selected routes during the summer. A key challenge was ensuring that the move to allocated seating did not impact easyJet's leading On Time Performance: running on time is absolutely integral to easyJet's success and a key performance indicator.

Sopra Steria worked closely with easyJet to develop the underlying operating systems, enabling the airline to provide allocated seating for passengers. The trial of allocated seating was very successful and as a result easyJet committed to rolling this out across its network.

Solution

Sopra Steria began by updating easyJet's underlying reservation system, eRes. This is the airline's critical business operating system which manages all customer and agent booking data. Sopra Steria also developed easyJet's business partnership platform to accommodate an allocated seating solution for trial flights and later a full solution to roll out across their entire network.

This required significant interaction with easyJet's online and reservation partners to ensure the solution integrated seamlessly with business critical systems including the web which drives 98% of easyJet's bookings.

Offshore

The allocated seating project was managed and driven entirely from the UK by a close-knit team who worked on site at easyJet's Luton Headquarters. In order to keep costs down a portion of the development work was offshored to Sopra Steria's Delivery Centre in Noida. Sopra Steria in India provided a dedicated team who worked on the system developments for the reservation system and supported the UK team with testing and on-going business support.

What did we do?

  • Developed the eRes and business partnership platform - to accommodate the functionality required to provide allocated seats to all passengers.
  • System testing and support services – to ensure the business-critical systems were operating.
  • Provided a BI Solution – to ensure reporting was available from day one.
  • Integration with the website, seating service and other platforms - utilising Microsoft Azure technologies to ensure a seamless experience for the customer, agents and staff.
  • Training and support - to ensure ground staff and flight crew were fully trained on the new systems and able to explain the new service to clients, customers and agents.

Benefits

The implementation of the new seating model has not impacted easyJet's on-time performance and passenger feedback has been extremely positive so far; the new service is already providing a number of key business benefits for easyJet including:

  • Improved passenger satisfaction – by giving passengers the opportunity to choose a seat pre-flight at a small cost, allocated seating is providing a better boarding experience for travellers; it removes the need to queue in the departure lounge to secure a preferred seat.
  • Making easyJet more attractive to families – this provides peace of mind by enabling them to secure seats together. This is particularly important to those traveling with young children.
  • A more attractive proposition to the business traveller – providing them the option to pre-select a seat means the business traveller can focus on working rather than having to queue for a preferred seat.

Future developments

Sopra Steria worked with easyJet to roll out allocated seating across the airline's entire network.

Client view

"Our customers asked us to trial allocated seating and we are really pleased with the positive passenger feedback during the trial. The trial has also shown that we can offer allocated seating while delivering strong on time performance which is one of the key drivers of passenger satisfaction."
Trevor Didcock, CIO easyJet