Well, our GDC 2008 trip is getting off to a stuttering start. We were less than a mile from the house at the horrific hour of 7AM for our 8:55 flight when my cell phone rings. It was United’s nifty automated message system calling to tell me that our itinerary had been changed. Our new flight is departing at almost noon.
We turned around and went back to the house so I could investigate. It turns out our original flight from OMA to DEN (UAL 731) got delayed somehow – likely due to weather. There were two results of this. 1) it was now an hour behind. 2) They swapped the 757 for a 737. That meant they lost quite a few available seats. So, we got bumped to a later flight (UAL 859) and automatically rebooked on our 2nd leg from DEN to SFO (UAL 77). I haven’t been able to determine what caused the original flight to be delayed that set all this in motion – but it sure is interesting to see the ripple effect throughout the system and how passengers get rebooked.
It sure would be neat if there was an airline simulation that took into account such things. What would that look like? Wow… it would have to have hundreds of aircraft doing thousands of flights to move… well… millions of passengers around. With all those flights, it would have to take into account things like weather delays, because what would happen if an aircraft got delayed on its daily schedule? You would have to swap aircraft for whatever is available, even if it means a different type of aircraft and having to bump and rebook passengers. Which means passengers would actually have to have a real itinerary to mess up! If it happened at a crowded airport, things like that could even mess up an airline’s nationwide route structure!
That sure does make for some great problem solving and could be a lot of fun!