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    Well oiled operation fires up


    British Airways sent 3000 text messages to passengers, alerting them of delays and alterations after the Hemel Hempsted oil terminal blaze sent a cloud billowing towards Heathrow on the morning of Sunday 11th December.

    The airline used Incentivated as its supplier to send alerts to its customers in the wake of a massive fire just north of London.
    Incentivated had to prove itself very soon after winning a contract from British Airways to provide a number of British Airways a services, including passenger disruption notices, cargo logistics alerts and staff communication. The airline anticipated disruption to schedules caused by bad weather, but not by the massive fire.

    Jonathon Bass, managing director of Incentivated, said that the system had only been “launched in anger” on the Thursday before the weekend in question. On the Saturday and Sunday of last weekend, due first to fog and then to the fire, BA sent 3,288 messages informing passengers of 155 cancellations. The texts were sent to 59 different country codes. Incentivated’s system can cope with eight languages, and must interface with BA’s own XML and SMTP based applications.
    The messages informed passengers their flights were delayed or cancelled, and gave local and language-appropriate phone numbers to call if they required more information.
    Bass said BA had about 15% of its online customers opting to enter their mobile numbers, so there is room for growth.
    “BA have more ideas for how to use mobile than you could imagine,” he said Currently the system is used for cargo logistics and staff communications, as well as passenger disruption notices. The system is also integrated with BA’s IP telephony system and can send the first few words of an unopened voicemail as a text.