Wondering, wandering, and making sense of the world.


A door-to-door transportation service

This is a further brainstorm on my previous post on “how would you redesign the airline experience?

Why do we fly anyway? It’s to get from point A to point B right? If so, why do we have to book our flight, then separately figure out how to get to the airport? And within the airport, navigate through mazes of counters and gates to get to the plane? And then on the other side, figure out again how to get to your destination, often in foreign environments?

Flying is very cognitively intensive. There are a lot of decisions you have to make and information to piece together in order to plan your trip. Even during the trip, you have to pay attention to where the gates are, how long the security line is, and if you’re going to need to get food prior to the flight.

Let’s simplify.

To be honest, the idea of a door-to-door transportation service was brought up by a team during one of the workshops I ran in Colombia (the country) last year. They didn’t quite get to the level of detail I am going to present, but they definitely opened my mind as to how things can be different, very different. At the same time, I’m sure they aren’t the only people who have come up with ideas. Ideas are realized independently all the time.

Imaging going on an airline website and entering your home address, your destination address, and the desired arrival time and the airline automatically chooses a flight and creates an itinerary for you including shuttle services on both ends?

On the day of travel, the shuttle service comes to pick you up outside your home, the driver checks your ID, reservation code, and tags your baggage and hands you your boarding pass. At the airport, you leave the luggage in the shuttle and walk straight to security and then to your gate to board the flight. Once you exit the flight on the other end, you walk to the shuttle platform designated on your boarding pass, check that your luggage has arrived on the shuttle, and get driven to your final destination.

Simple right? Get rid of the queue at the check-in counter and simplify the coordination between different transportation modes.

What if people want to arrange their own transportation to and from the airport? I’m not sure if there are enough people who would want this to justify investing in a traditional check-in counter and baggage claim, and I have a feeling those who would rather arrange their own transportation will use the traditional carriers instead (where the prices are probably lower). I’m also not sure if I would want to discount the ticket prices for not using the shuttle service for the fear that people may start comparing prices of the flight portion of the ticket to the traditional airlines.

In addition to the shuttle service I would probably have a town car service for those who prefer personal delivery to the airport rather than a group shuttle. This could be part of the first class package or an optional upgrade.

How much would this cost? Honestly, I don’t have enough experience in business modeling or the airline industry to come up with realistic figures for such a service. I can intuitively say that it will cost more than the traditional airlines, but how much more? and at that cost, is the value proposition there? Good questions that are very difficult to answer at this stage.


One Response to “A door-to-door transportation service”

  1. April 24th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Sarah says:

    1. Getting the bus driver to do too much gets a bit clumsy. Could there be an entrance at the middle of the shuttle bus where you could take your time getting on with your luggage and sorting out the tags/boarding passes?

    2. Some airlines already pick up and drop off for their premium customers right? I was tempted to get an airline-affiliated credit card once just because it came with pick ups and drops offs.

Leave a Reply