Customer Data Mining usage in service provision - Airline industry

Challenges in In the age of Big Data

In the airline industry, nearly all carriers collect passenger data, but some are aggressively pursuing data mining to personalize the flying experience. Previously unlinked data sets can now be consolidated to build comprehensive customer profiles.

Cabin crews equipped with tablets or smartphones can identify the top five customers on the plane, passengers with special diets or allergies, seat preferences, newlyweds embarking on their honeymoon, and customers whose luggage was misplaced or who experienced flight delays on their previous flights. In-flight browsing history and Facebook likes are even used to fashion relevant marketing pitches.

This “captive audience” aspect of air travel in conjunction with the sheer volume of information airlines collect presents a unique opportunity to marketers. Allegiant Travel company has already been able to sell show tickets, car rentals, and helicopter tours to Las Vegas travelers. United Airlines’ revamp of its Web site, kiosks, and mobile app, along with its data integration initiative, have enabled it to target flyers predisposed to upgrading to an economy plus seat.

Not all customers are pleased. A user on Delta’s FlyerTalk forum complained that a link from the new DL.com Web site led to a personal profile that included a lot more than her miles accumulated and home airport. Annual income, home value, and the age ranges of her children were included along with expected data such as amount spent on airfare, hotel preference, and type of credit card.

The resulting negative publicity prompted Delta to apologize, but it defended its use of demographic data and data not covered under its privacy policy. Credit-card partner American Express had supplied some data, as allowed under the policy. Global information services group Experian supplied the rest, unbeknownst to consumers.

- Are there any disadvantages to mining customer data? Explain your answer.

- How do you feel about airlines mining your in-flight data? Is this any different from companies mining your credit card purchases or Web surfing?


- Write the discussion in your language. Be specific and to the point.

- Do not attempt to copy and paste from the internet.

- Do not attempt to cheat.

- Take the discussion very serious. 

- Try to include all the points in a short essay that is well constructed.

- The suggested essay structure is to provide two short paragraphs for each point.

Hints for part 1 (These are examples, but don't stick to them):

- Privacy issues

- Spam e-mails

Customer Data Mining usage in service provision - Airline industry

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