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Success Story

Airlines and Flight Information System

Table of Contents

Introduction

The client is an airline company that serves nearly 50 destinations across 25 states in the US and provides services to over three million customers.

Background

The company’s core process revolved around providing dedicated and one-on-one service to its clients. Some of the main focus points in the current processes were:

  • Our prominent airline client sought a reliable development partner to enhance its website. 
  • The website faced several issues, such as the unavailability of customizable third-party booking widgets, and the third-party API service used to fetch flight information was causing performance problems. 
  • Furthermore, the user experience needed to be updated, and the mobile view experience for finding flights needed to be more robust, resulting in an inconvenient and unpleasant user experience. 
  • Much of the information presented to users was static, requiring experts to update and maintain it.
  • Additionally, the website was not entirely compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which hindered its accessibility and usability for differently-abled users. 
  • An interactive route map for website users was missing, and essential utilities such as a bag price calculator and bank offers with dynamic details were missing. 
  • Finally, the templates used in the email campaign could have been more attractive and needed more visual appeal, which may have resulted in lower click-through rates and engagement.

Objectives

  • As a leading airline company, it aimed to enhance user experience and reduce customer dropouts. To achieve this goal, it focused on improving its website traffic conversion rate. 
  • As part of its strategy, the client wanted a planned gradual transition from its legacy system to a new one to ensure that existing customers could quickly adapt to the changes. 
  • The company also opted for an easy-to-manage content management system, which enabled its staff to update and customize the website efficiently. 
  • Furthermore, the client has placed significant importance on ADA compliance level AAA to ensure its website is accessible to everyone. 
  • To enhance the user experience, the client sought to provide an interactive and intuitive way of presenting flight information. 
  • Finally, the company planned to design an easy-to-manage, dynamic, attractive email template to communicate effectively with its customers.

Methodology

  • The application’s development methodology was widget-based. This approach enabled the creation of a modular and reusable component that could be used throughout the application. 
  • The development process followed the agile methodology with two-week sprints. This allowed the developers to work in short iterations and to deliver working software quickly. 
  • After each sprint, a demo was presented to the client, and their feedback was incorporated into the subsequent sprints. 
  • The existing website was built on the WordPress CMS platform. To maintain consistency, the same platform was used for the new application. 
  • Custom components like ACF were developed to manage custom fields and post types. A custom front-end theme was created and optimized with CSS3 and jQuery, resulting in a user-friendly customer experience.
  • Unique templates were designed for email marketing. These templates ensured the emails were visually appealing and aligned with the company’s brand image. 
  • A deployment strategy based on the environment was used to transition implementation from Dev, QA, Staging, UAT, Beta, and Production. This strategy ensured that the application was thoroughly tested before it went live.

Challenges

  • The current system, a platform for managing flight data, accumulated vast information over time. However, the system faced performance issues due to outdated APIs and struggled to provide users with a smooth flight search experience.
  •  To address this issue, the team had to revamp both the flight search experience and the APIs. 
  • The project’s initial stage was assigned a timeline of six months, which was considered quite challenging considering the workload and intricacy of the system. 
  • The deployment of these changes, however, was a crucial task that needed to be carried out without any errors. Given the continuous traffic on the website, the deployment process had to be meticulously planned and executed within a small pre-approved time window, as dictated by the airline’s IT team. 
  • During the transition period, the client’s team decided to present both the outdated legacy Web 1.0 system and the new and improved Web 2.0 experience simultaneously. This was done to ensure that users had a seamless experience and faced no disruptions during the transition.

Solutions

  • The complete work was divided into phases and user stories. The project roadmap was developed to ensure timelines were met. 
  • Utilities were developed as WordPress custom widgets using shortcodes. Encapsulating widgets in shortcodes separated the logic and presentation of custom functionality, making the code more modular and easier to manage.
  • Updating or modifying the widget’s functionality can be done by updating the shortcode definition without affecting the entire theme or site structure. This allows flexibility in working in feature increments without affecting other website areas and allows users to adapt to new changes gradually.
  • The front end was implemented using the WP Astra theme and Elementor due to its simplicity and lightweight nature. Additionally, it allows for deep customization, including header and footer layouts, typography, colors, and more. Combined with Elementor, users have even more control over the design and layout of their entire website.
  • Selligent automation platform was customized to provide solutions for dynamic email templates, marketing automation, and customer engagement.

Implementation

Flight Information Module
  • The client team wanted a widget that could be used across multiple pages with the same user experience. We developed a shortcode-based widget with a plug-and-play option. 
  • The widget was developed as a custom plugin, allowing the client’s team to install it on any WordPress-based web application. The admin controls configuring API endpoints and turning widgets ON/OFF. 
  • Tailor-made flight-finding experience with customized flow and interactive calendar.
  • Keyword-driven search for destinations was developed based on a keyword database. 
  • Mobile and iPad-friendly versions to browse through flight search through the tip of users’ fingers.
Route information Module
  • A dynamic route map was developed, allowing travelers to find the route where airlines operate by clicking the locations on the map.
  •  Airlines can easily add new routes from an easy-to-understand backend and change any existing route.
  • A mobile-friendly version for easy navigation for mobile users to gain substantial traffic from mobile users.
Bag Price Checker Module
  • The client’s Airline charges different prices for bags on different dates and reservation times, such as during reservation, Prior check-in, online checking, or at the Airport. We developed a utility that allows the Admin to upload prices into the backend based on the provided CSV template. The widget will allow travelers to get information on bag prices based on their destination and flight dates.   
Capital One Bank Module
  • The client had a tie-up with a Bank and a range of privileged cards. Since the bank dictated the rates, benefits, and terms, they were prone to frequent changes. We developed a backend job that fetched data regularly and updated the database with the latest data. Data was displayed to users dynamically, avoiding any mismatch in changing terms.    
Aesthetics and User Experience.
  • The website theme was styled to look Aesthetically pleasing while keeping it lightweight, and well-designed landing pages to capture visitors’ attention. Well-designed destination pages with information about activities & nearby attractions to create an inviting and positive first impression.
  • Developed a streamlined and intuitive navigation system, ensuring users can easily find the needed information. Clear menu structures and easy-to-use interfaces for a positive user experience, helping users move through the funnel seamlessly.
Web Accessibility and ADA
  • Web accessibility is crucial for ensuring that websites are usable and navigable by individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States requires businesses, including airline companies, to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. In the past, airlines had compliance measures in place to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities, but there was still room for improvement. To achieve AAA-level compliance, we took steps to enhance the user experience for individuals using assistive technologies like screen readers. One of the major changes we made was implementing a clear and consistent navigation system with a logical structure. This makes it easier for users to navigate through the website, regardless of their abilities. By doing so, we aim to provide a more inclusive and accessible experience for all of our customers.

Results

  • Achieve better data control: Airlines can now effortlessly update flight schedules, introduce new routes, and keep prices updated using technology that requires minimal human intervention. This saves valuable time and reduces the risk of errors, ensuring better control over predicted earnings. The ability to manage these aspects with ease and accuracy was a crucial factor in running a growing aviation business.
  • Minimized risks and a positive brand image: Achieving WCAG compliance at the AAA level ensured that the website was accessible to a broader audience but also positively influenced the brand image, reduced legal risks, and improved the website’s overall performance in search engine rankings. These factors collectively contribute to increased sales and website traffic, which is evident in published Airlines Q4 2023 Reports.
  • Improve user experience and higher conversions: The escalation in website traffic has resulted in a notable improvement in conversion rates and sales funnels. The latter has effectively identified bottlenecks, thereby contributing to refining the flight search process. This has enabled the organization to enhance its capacity to deliver exceptional customer service, ensure customer satisfaction, and boost its competitive advantage in the market.

 

 

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