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Introduction to Business Requirements for Travel With Groups

  • An external group like Shell might pay a fixed commitment for a certain number of seats on a flight e.g. Shell don’t need a full aircraft and NLNG has excess capacity on an aircraft
    • Bookings will be made “on behalf” of the Shell staff member by an EA
    • For seats, “Reserve” means “At least” or “Guaranteed” and “Cap” = “No more than”
    • No more than the reserved/paid seats may be booked, even if there are empty seats available, because primarily the payload is for NLNG staff
      • for understanding, this is totally different to commercial airline practice, which always wants to fill up the economy cabin
    • Payment where appropriate might be by credit card in advance or invoice in arrears
  • An internal group like Community might needs seats reserved for their activities
    • Internal groups will probably not pay for seats
    • Some internal groups will comprise known travelers (Security) and others will comprise unknown travelers (Community)
  • The company may elect to sell excess seats to staff at subsidized rates (beyond the family travel quota ratified with the union) e.g. NTS
  • A group secretary/EA may need to “book on behalf” rather than travelers booking themselves

Catering for Traveler Groups with Fare Categories

First step is to create a Traveler Group:

  • The Default group gets access to unreserved seats. All travelers belong to the Default Group (by default)
  • Non-Category Seats refers to whether a group can access unreserved seats
  • Company rules relies on a CompanyID, so groups who have members without a CompanyID need a means to apply a priority to their travel, so Operations know who to bump when there is overbooking. Unchecking Use Company Rules bypasses the Quota/Penalty Rules engine and always accepts a booking subject to payment/reservation.
  • Flights/Sailing reservations get assigned to Fare Categories, get assigned to Travel Groups

Here we can see an example of an invited Shell EA, who has had a traveler profile created for them using “+ ADD TRAVELER”:

  • The login/password is matched to the traveler profile via email address
  • There is no masking of email addresses, so the NLNG admin person decides what email is appropriate when inviting the user
  • because the EA doesn’t belong to “Member of Staff Group”, they don’t have access to all the unreserved seats
  • as a member of the Shell Group, the EA can:
    • add new Shell staff travelers (Profile Manager who can add travelers who don’t have a staff profile/ID)
    • make bookings for Shell staff travelers (Booker Manager who books on behalf)

Next, Groups/Travelers get associated to a Fare Category.

  • Enable Automatic Release opens up the reserved seats for general availability close to departure time
  • Allow Multiple Travelers per Booking checked means Mytravel will allow bookers to book any registered dependents or guests, as well as the booker
    • booking on behalf behavior is separate to this setting
  • A Travel Reason needs to be assigned against which the booking will be allocated
    • changes to Travel Reasons won’t appear in the Mytravel TripReason dropdown until the browser is refreshed and the booker chooses the group again
    • “Travel Reasons” are setup in the CompanyRules module
      • A Travel Reason belongs either to the Corporate (Business) Flow or the Non-Corporate (Private/Family) Flow, but can’t belong to both.

With the Fare Category created, update the fare for a Route Connection where payment is taken.

The Schedule can then be used to create a Reserves & Caps for the various Groups.

  • When an auto reserved seat release occurs:
    • the previously group reserved seats become available to default and all other groups with available cap
      • see the “Free Seats” available using the “Station View” (or test in Mytravel)
      • the reserved seats set in the schedule for the flight appear cosmetically unchanged after the reserves are auto-released e.g. 5 reserve and 5 cap appears but now there is no reserve
      • after the seats are auto-released for a group, there is no way to further change the reserved seats for that group for that flight/sail
    • an audit trail is written when reserves are auto released
    • to test auto-release of reserved seats before departure:
      • pick a flight/sail for tomorrow in station-view and note Free seats e.g. 80 (note max seats and free seats are different)
      • edit flight and detach from master, and set a group to have 5 reserved seats with default release of 5 hours
      • note the number of free seats in station-view e.g. 75
      • edit the flight again and set the auto-release to 50 hours
      • wait a minute and station view will show seats back to 80
      • go to logs and you can see the auto-release event log
  • The sum of the reservations can’t exceed the max number of seats (but the sum of caps can exceed the max number of seats)
  • cap should be set greater than or equal to the reserved number of seats i.e. cap=0 has the same effect as not having a fare category on this schedule
  • a new fare category, or a currently unused fare category will appear on a schedule, but with reserve 0 and cap 0
  • 0 Reserved and 10 cap from 20 seats means no seats are guaranteed to the group, but up to 10 seats can be booked

When a booker/traveler wishes to make a travel booking, they are first asked in which capacity they want to make a booking

  • As a member of staff I get access to everything available in the “Economy cabin”
  • As a member of Community, I get access to reserved seats

When “Booking on Behalf” as a Secretary/EA for a group, the EA can:

  • make bookings on behalf of group members (with “Booker Manager” traveler permission, the traveler dropdown appears)
  • add new staff members as traveler members of the group (with “Profile Manager” traveler permission, the “+” appears)

A Secretary/EA can book for themselves (dependents & guests) by toggling off “Booking on Behalf Mode”, whereupon the Travelers drop-down disappears. Note no dependents in the screen print below due to “Fare Category” having “Allow Multiple Travelers per Booking” being unchecked – normally family members and guests would appear as well as the booker.

Group bookers can also:

  • change their booking group (or refresh to do same)
  • manage group travelers

Travel With Groups

GoShows are last minute bookings made by operational staff for a passenger who turns up last-minute at the airport/port without a booking, which happens due to:

  • operational imperative resulting in bumping e.g. emergency workers or a GM/VIP
  • staff who are available nearby and take the opportunity to use excess capacity

Accurate data provides the means for continuous improvement, so staff can select the Booker Travel Group when making a GoShow to preserve analytics accurately presenting:

  • what is the reason for travel
  • who is responsible for the travel
  • who is traveling

Postnote: The “Member of Staff Group” has some additional properties in that all staff belong to “Is Default”, and the fare-category NTS is also allowed.

As a result, staff can book all available unreserved seats and also make NTS paid bookings, but when NTS is selected, the only Travel Reason available is Private.