Google is using AI to predict flight delays before airlines


Few things are worse than waiting an hour to get through TSA for your red-eye, only to realize your flight has been delayed. Google is now using AI to give you a heads-up. Google Flights is rolling out more information on flight delays, including more information on why your departure was actually held back, and even predicting if a delay may happen before you hear anything from your airline. You just need to search your flight number or route and airline to get the information. Google says it’s using historic flight data and machine learning to predict delays, and it…

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Google will use machine learning to predict flight delays before the airlines

Google Flights is a good tool for looking up flight information, and it’s about to get better thanks to machine learning. Using historical data, Google can estimate with reasonable accuracy when a flight will be delayed and by how much even before the airline knows. Google Flights is also going to begin surfacing more information about flights that come with additional restrictions.

You don’t need to do anything to get the delay predictions in Google Flights.

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Google will use machine learning to predict flight delays before the airlines was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Trump administration withdraws rule forcing airlines to disclose baggage fees

US airlines are no longer required to disclose hidden baggage fees as soon as people start the ticket-buying process, the Department of Transportation announced this week. The news coincides with Delta Air Lines’ announcement that it’s going to start charging basic economy passengers baggage fees for flights after December 6th.

The DOT, in following with the Trump administration’s general disdain for Obama-era policies, is withdrawing the rule that requires airlines to disclose fees, saying that they have “limited public benefit,” as first reported by The Hill. The Obama administration proposed the rule would provide greater transparency for airline consumers. The move drew harsh criticism from Democratic members of Congress, some of…

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Boom’s supersonic jets get $10 million boost from Japan Airlines

Boom's plan to revive supersonic passenger jets just got an important financial boost. The startup has revealed that Japan Airlines is investing $ 10 million, and that the carrier also has the option of buying up to 20 of the company's faster-than-so…
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Thousands of American Airlines Flights Might Not Have Pilots This Holiday Season

It’s amazing the havoc a little old computer bug can wreak. This morning Apple patched a flaw that granted an unauthorized user root access to the macOS system and earlier this year a DNS-related issue brought down large portions of the Internet. Now, Bloomberg and others are reporting that American Airlines—the largest airline in the world—may have as many as 15,000 flights, or more, without pilots next month (December 17 through December 31) thanks to a scheduling error.

Reportedly, the airline’s scheduling system allowed too many pilots to request time off during the busy holiday season. Essentially the system showed that there was enough staff to cover planned flights; problem is, there wasn’t.

We reached out to American Airlines and received the following statement:

“We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate – as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.”

While the statement provided is reassuring albeit vague, this current predicament just goes to show how much damage a little glitch can do, and also comes at bad time for the airline. In October the NAACP warned African-American passengers of “disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe” travel conditions citing numerous incidents.

Earlier in the year a blind woman made headlines for being kicked off a flight due to a dispute regarding her guide dog having enough space and being denied an upgrade due to dogs not being allowed in first-class.

According to the New York Times, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, a union that represents 15,000 pilots, can’t say anything but “stay tuned.” They have filed a grievance stating that American Airlines’ promise of 150% pay cannot be guaranteed in the current contract.

If you have plans to travel by airplane this December, it may be wise to research your options before booking your flight.

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American Airlines computer glitch might force customers into Christmas staycations


Hundreds of American Airlines customers today discovered they might have to stay home for the holidays, thanks to an error in American Airlines’ computer system. According to Bloomberg, the glitch showed that some flights had a surplus of staff when they didn’t. As a result, the airline gave too many pilots the holiday season off, leaving up to 15,000 flights between December 17-31 critically understaffed. An American Airlines spokesperson told Bloomberg the company has corrected the error which led to the scheduling problem. The company is now offering 150 percent hourly wage to pilots who agree to work during the…

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Two airlines are bringing faster WiFi to their international flights

Two airlines have made moves to upgrade their WiFi offerings today. Cathay Pacific Group will provide GoGo's 2Ku satellite-based broadband technology starting in 2018 and Emirates has partnered with Thales to bring 50Mpbs connectivity to its Boeing 7…
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One of the World’s Largest Airlines Is Looking Into Blockchain Technology

Blockchain Takes Flight

Aircraft maintenance is, obviously, a crucial part of any airline business. Keeping tabs with replacement parts on in-service planes is necessary to avoid serious complications in flight. Which is why Air France KLM is putting a premium on its ability to keep their airplanes in tip-top shape, and they’ve decided to employ blockchain technology to do so.

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Speaking in a webinar together with Microsoft and software for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) systems provider Ramco Aviation, Air France talked about the benefits of relying on digital currency technology. James Kornberg, Air France KLM business unit director of innovation, said that he is working with his team to come up with a clear business case for blockchain use in improving maintenance processes and work flows. “The use case has to be realistic,” he said, Aviation Today reports. “The four features of blockchain are resilience, traceability, integrity and disintermediation are well suited to the aviation supply chain.”

Expanded Value

Blockchain, the innovative technology that powers cryptocurrencies, isn’t just useful for financial transactions. Already, this decentralized digital ledger have found use in storing medical data, in managing power grids, as a potentially new internet, and even in how we distribute aid. Now, airline companies are taking the technology by the wings.

Kornberg pointed out, however, that airline data has to completely transition to digital first before they can fully take advantage of what blockchain has to offer. “In the aviation industry, we still have a lot of our data that is not digitalized, still a lot of analog data, the first step, and that’s what we’re doing at the moment,” he added.

Apart from Air France’s idea of using it to keep track of maintenance needs, blockchain has the capacity to transform the entire commercial airline transportation industry. “The characteristics of the airline industry—and also the broader travel industry—align very well with the capabilities of the blockchain,” an Accenture write-up notes. The key is in how blockchain handles data. Airline companies can employ blockchain to improve ticketing services by using smart-contracts, managing loyalty points, as well as in keeping passenger information and data more secure.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

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Netflix is offering its bandwidth tech to airlines for better in-flight streaming

Netflix is going to start partnering with airlines to provide them with its mobile streaming technology. This will start next year as part of an effort to get airlines to provide better in-flight Wi-Fi, according to a report from Variety. The reasoning is simple from Netflix’s perspective: the better in-flight Wi-Fi is, the more passengers can use it to watch Netflix while on planes.

Netflix has, over the years, already had to develop better bandwidth technologies for streaming video on mobile devices working through unreliable cellular connections, so it seems logical that the company’s tech could be used to improve in-flight Wi-Fi, too. According to Netflix, the company’s tech could save airlines up to 75 percent in bandwidth costs…

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Tata Comms: Airlines on digital transformation journey as IoT takes flight

IoT takes flight airlines on digital transformation journey

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the opportunities that the IoT offers airlines – but ensuring a smooth take-off for these technologies is going to rely on airline executives identifying those areas that offer the best chances for increased profitability.

Anthony Bartolo of Tata Communications

For Anthony Bartolo, chief product officer for collaboration, mobility and IoT at networking and cloud company Tata Communications, these opportunities principally lie in two areas: better passenger experiences and smoother behind-the-scenes operations. 

“We’re talking here about a hugely competitive industry,” he told Internet of Business. “Airlines don’t invest in digital unless they fundamentally feel they can derive very material benefits, either on the operations side or on the customer side. But we see very high levels of confidence in IoT, with the majority of airlines believing it will provide these clear benefits for them in 2018,” he says.

Air New Zealand, for example, has significantly increased its investment in digital in its corporate mission to “transform travel”, and in 2015, appointed former Google executive Avi Golan as its chief digital officer. The airline already provides young unaccompanied travellers with a digital bracelet, the Airband, so that their parents or guardians can track their journeys. Virgin Atlantic Airways has also experimented with wearables. Emirates has work underway on augmented reality and motion sensors

Read more: Air China chooses Panasonic to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity

In pursuit of profits

Running an airline as a money-making venture is, after all, a notoriously tricky business. Aircraft are expensive, jet fuel prices fluctuate. Bad weather can have a major impact on profits, as can industrial action at airports. Many costs are non-negotiable, in the form of fixed tariffs for access to airports and air traffic control charges.

In fact, when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted “record profits” for airlines in 2017, for the third year in succession, the organization’s director and general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac simultaneously conceded that, in this respect, aviation is still the poor relation of other industries.

“Record profits for airlines means earning more than our cost of capital,” he stated. “For most other businesses, that would be considered a normal level of return to investors. But three years of sustainable profits is a first for the airline industry.”

That said, the potential benefits of IoT in aviation are far-reaching and profound, with huge implications for future profitability, Bartolo claims. “When you look at what IoT does, it fundamentally brings visibility to areas that might otherwise be in darkness and that, in many cases, remain in darkness today.”

Read more: TUMI and AT&T launch tracking device for travellers

Real-time data

In particular, Bartolo says, the IoT brings real-time data into situations where the norm has typically been reams and reams of paper: passenger lists, seating plans, flight operations manuals, flight despatch information, crew rosters. That has huge potential for making operations faster and less costly, such as flight turnarounds times.

Similarly, it can propel passengers into a state of near-on constant connectedness, enabling them to access inflight Wi-Fi, use their own mobile devices to access inflight entertainment and stay notified when it comes to the progress of their own journeys and those made by their luggage.

In IATA’s 2016 Global Passenger Survey, the three top areas that passengers would like to receive notifications on were flight status and changes (cited by 85 percent); baggage status and waiting times for delivery (60 percent) and waiting times at security/border control (58 percent). They clearly want to receive that information via their mobile devices – 53 percent by SMS text messages; 22 percent via a mobile app; and 21 percent by email.

“There will definitely be airlines providing apps by next year that show passengers exactly where their luggage is at any stage of the journey,” Bartolo predicts. “But to truly open up the Pandora’s Box of visibility, airlines will need to have a very reliable network infrastructure underpinning a huge range of IoT-enabled sensors and devices, from sensors on the aircraft itself to baggage tags and everything in between.”

These are the layers that that Tata Communications is working with airlines to add, he says. These companies are effectively supply chain businesses, he adds, moving passengers, luggage, cargo and crews from place to place – but they have much to learn from parcels companies, for example, about identifying the locations of individual entities and assets, understanding what condition they’re in and digging down into what they experience between Point A and Point B.

There is, in other words, much work still to do, not least of which will be the widespread replacement of legacy technology, aging and patchy network infrastructures and paper-based processes. But with firmer technology foundations in place, made easier and more affordable for airlines by cloud, mobile and IoT, says Bartolo, airlines will be much better equipped to provide a safe landing for new technology initiatives and digital services that deliver greater business value and, hopefully, more reliable profits.

Read more: FliteTrak launches smart seating for aircraft cabins

The post Tata Comms: Airlines on digital transformation journey as IoT takes flight appeared first on Internet of Business.

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