A transformative year at AirPortr in 2017
Looking back now, I can barely believe it’s December already. It feels like last Christmas was only a month or two ago — surely it can’t be the silly season yet again! Wait, didn’t we have a summer in there somewhere as well? Maybe this is what it’s like getting older…anyway, it’s been a phenomenally busy year at AirPortr — so here’s a few highlights to look back on the year that was, and look forward to 2018.
💼 We’ve been checking-in bags for British Airways for more than a year!
Back in October 2016, we took our first booking for British Airways. As the first service to offer bag check-in from home in London, it was a pretty exciting moment. I even accompanied some of our drivers just to make sure the pick-ups went smoothly. As designers, we all need to make sure our products work in the intended way in the real world!
🤝 We’ve partnered with Stobart
Stobart Group has invested £2 million into AirPortr. The partnership comes after the UK government called for evidence to create a new aviation strategy, including city check-ins for luggage. Working with Stobart will let us service more airports and more cities a lot faster — and you’ll start to see the AirPortr vans co-branded with Stobart Aviation.
📱 We’ve rebuilt our operative app from the ground up
When we launched with BA, we had two separate operative apps — one for our city delivery service, and one for the check-in service. We’ve rebuilt the tool that allows the whole operation to function in a way that makes sense for all booking types, complies to all our security policies, and is easy to use for our operatives — both on the road and in the airports.
🚚 Our logistics function has been brought in-house
In the middle of this year we divested our logistics operation from a 3rd-party provider and brought it in-house. A massive move, this transformation allows us to better plan and monitor routing, improve efficiency, and most of all make sure our customers are getting first-class service every time.
✈️ We’ve transformed from a concierge-focused to an airline-focused service
As the company has moved away from providing an airport concierge service, we’ve focused a lot more on building a product that is plug-and-play with any airline in the world. We’ve repositioned a little bit to be a key part of a passenger’s airline experience , as opposed to an added extra in the airport.
👨🏫 We’ve created a comprehensive internal training resource
Part of these huge changes has meant the need to standardise our resources and training. We’ve built an internal digital training resource for all our operations team. Making sure everyone is up to date is vital to delivering a great service for our customers.
🏢 Moved offices — twice!
Towards the end of 2016, we moved just upstairs into a massive space in Vox Studios. While it was only a short move upstairs, it took a lot of effort from all the teams. Then, only 6 months later, we were told the building was being renovated so had to move again! We’re now nestled in next to the railway arches near Vauxhall Park.
💻 Completely revised how our booking form works
Our website and booking form have been completely overhauled. We consolidated airportr.com (bag check-in) and portr.com (bag delivery service) into one home under the AirPortr banner, rebuilt the CMS from scratch, implemented data-links from airline sites and emails to auto-populate the form, undergone significant brand revisions more in-line with our positioning, and stripped back a lot of junk.
⭕️ Created a dedicated service design team
After unofficially running service design & product design, JD Mesquita Piquard and I are now responsible for the end-to-end service quality. Together, we work closely with our users (internal and external) to deliver great services which are understandable and easy to use.
🇺🇸 And finally, we’ve just launched with American Airlines!
After polishing and revising our service over the past year since the British Airways launch, we’re very proud to say that American Airlines has come on board as the second airline to offer it’s passengers the ability to check in their bags from home. And we were able to build and deploy the service for this new partner in a little over 30 days.
So, what comes next? … while I can’t share the details just yet, let’s just say there are some big things in the pipeline. We can look back on the year that was and see that while we achieved so much, there’s still so much more to do.
And if you’re flying out of London with BA or AA soon, get in touch and I just might be able to sort you out with a promo code…
Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2017!