The joined-up journey – new generation passenger systems

Passenger systems must cater for the end-to-end journey and easy differentiation.

Allison O'Neill, Vice President, Passenger Solutions, SITA.

Passenger services systems

Allison O"NeillThink about the journey from any airline’s perspective and chances are you’d come up with a diagram not unlike the one pictured below. Called the ‘customer journey map’, airlines use it to model the customer’s experience at all points along the way.

Crucially, it requires joined up thinking. The customer journey is about more than a trip starting at point A and ending at point B. It’s a relationship extending from initial contact, throughout the engagement process and into repeat travel – a lifetime of experiences.


To airline IT managers, the customer journey map is like a blueprint. It identifies key interactions that customers have with the airline.

But more than that, it defines how interrelated business processes should operate to create a joined up journey – or more formally: to support the full passenger management lifecycle, in an integrated manner.  

An airline’s deployment of merchandising of additional services, for example, will require the orchestration of services in each of the steps of distribution, sales, service and delivery.

Blueprint of interactions

The customer journey map is like a blueprint. It identifies
key interactions that customers have with the airline.   

Allison O'Neill, VP, Passenger Solutions, SITA   


This ‘joined up journey’ principle is a critical one, because of its implications for the design of passenger management solutions.

It means that passenger service systems (PSS) must enable end-to-end business processes. They must emphasize seamless operation, continuity of approach and efficient delivery of customer-valuable services.

That’s why the customer journey map is so important. It brings consistency and customer awareness to the development of end-to-end business processes. It enables technology and systems to be developed in synch with those business processes.


The customer journey map is playing a vital role in shaping how the systems and technologies in SITA’s Horizon PSS portfolio are architected to deliver meaningful and reusable business services rather than isolated functionalities.

This is for two reasons: assured integration and standardization where it makes sense; and service differentiation wherever possible.

In looking at this at SITA, our reasoning has been thus: some services are core services. Every airline handles these in pretty much the same way. They’re often areas that are highly standardized maybe even regulated.

But then we see opportunities all the way across the value chain, where airlines can differentiate their services offering.

Things such as being more responsive to customers, for example, by recognizing their value and providing a unique service experience. That experience could be personalized based on stored knowledge about the customer which the airline can use at every touch point.

In areas like this, airlines can infuse their secret sauce and deliver on their brand values and promise. Airlines also want to be creative and precise in the way they package, target and deliver their offers and services through multiple channels, and even on board the plane.

Critical principle

The ‘joined up journey’ principle is a critical one because
of its implications for the design of passenger management

Allison O'Neill, VP, Passenger Solutions, SITA

Right platform

So, as a provider what’s important for us is to create a platform and architecture that enables airlines to get the efficiency and effectiveness they need out of core services. At the same time, it must empower them to implement their own brand experience.

To accomplish this, airlines need to self-manage configuration, processes, parameters, business rules, workflows and product definition. They need to make their required changes and get to market faster without any extra costs or delay.  

Right across the journey’s touchpoints, airlines need rich information to be available for any interface and value-oriented process that requires it, analyzed to generate business intelligence.  

And underpinning it all is the imperative for an agile technology platform. It must provide a layered architecture to deliver service-oriented business processes that can be reused across the portfolio, based on open standards and a next-generation data model.

As a new generation PSS aligned with the customer journey map, Horizon embraces the principle of the joined up journey, taking full account of the end-to-end passenger experience.

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