Desktop Tool from Continental Streamlines Customer Check-in and by Masterpee


									                                                  Windows Vista
                                                  Customer Solution Case Study

                                                  Desktop Tool from Continental Streamlines
                                                  Customer Check-in and Flight Search

                                                  ―Our gadget for Windows Sidebar opens up a whole
Customer: Continental Airlines
Web Site:
                                                  new world of possibilities in how we can communicate
Customer Size: 44,000 employees                   with customers and employees.‖
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Travel—Transportation                   Roland Senn, Senior Technology Manager, Continental Airlines

Customer Profile                                  Continental Airlines built a gadget for Windows® Sidebar that allows
Houston, Texas–based Continental Airlines
is the world’s fifth-largest airline, with more
                                                  customers to initiate searches for flight information or begin the
than 3,100 daily departures.                      online check-in process from the convenience of their own
Software and Services
                                                  computer desktops. The solution, which was developed in less than
 Windows Vista™                                  a week and utilizes the airline’s existing Web infrastructure,
 Technologies
  − Windows® Sidebar
                                                  enabled Continental to rapidly and cost-effectively deliver new
                                                  value and convenience to its customers.

                                                  Business Needs                                     Technology Manager at Continental. ―We rely
                                                  Continental Airlines, together with                heavily on e-mail and the Web to connect
                                                  Continental Express and Continental                with and service our OnePass frequent-flyer
                                                  Connection, has more than 3,100 daily              program customers, and are always looking
                                                  departures throughout the Americas, Europe,        for ways to take advantage of new and
                                                  and Asia. The company serves 150 domestic          emerging technologies to offer greater
                                                  and 136 international destinations, carrying       customer value and convenience.‖
                                                  some 67 million passengers each year.
                                                  In its highly competitive industry, Continental    Continental is connecting with and servicing
                                                  is always looking for new ways to engage           customers in a new way through a gadget for
                                                  with customers and improve customer                Windows® Sidebar, which gives the company
                                                  satisfaction, especially among those               a lasting presence on its customers’
                                                  frequent flyers whose business is key to the       desktops and makes it easier for those
                                                  company’s success.                                 customers to do business with Continental.
                                                                                                     The gadget will be made available for
For more information about other Microsoft        ―We’ve always been a strong proponent of           download on and possibly
customer successes, please visit:                 using technology to better serve our               on Windows Live™ Gallery.                     customers,‖ says Roland Senn, Senior
After users download and install the gadget, it                         In addition to helping Continental better
initially appears in a ―docked‖ state on                                serve its customers, building on Windows
Windows Sidebar in the Windows Vista™                                   Vista features is enabling the airline to
operating system. Clicking the gadget                                   realize the following benefits:
enlarges it, upon which customers can
interact with Continental in two ways:                                     Rapid time-to-market. Development of
                                                                            the gadget required only 20 hours of
   Flight search. Customers enter an origin, a                             developer effort, with two people working
    destination, and travel dates into the                                  part-time for less than a week. ―The work
    gadget, and are taken to                                was comparable to building a Web page,
    to see the search results.                                              in that the gadget is based entirely on
                                                                            dynamic HTML and JavaScript,‖ says
   Check-in. Customers can enter their                                     Senn. ―The only major difference is how
    OnePass number and personal                                             the gadget is packaged for installation,
    identification number into the gadget up to                             which literally takes less than a minute.‖
    24 hours before a flight. When users click
    Submit, they’re taken to to                            Use of existing Web infrastructure.
    complete the online check-in process and                                Continental did not have to do any work to
    print a boarding pass.                                                  its existing server-side infrastructure
                                                                            because the gadget simply forms a Web
―Initially, we’re allowing customers to enter                               page request that takes the user to the
data on their desktops and be taken to our                                  company’s Web site. For future features
Web site to complete the process,‖ says Senn.                               that use bidirectional communication, the
―However, we’re already looking at how we                                   company plans to utilize the Web service
can use the gadget to push out information,                                 application programming interfaces that
such as flight status or the number of miles                                are already part of its Web site.
required to obtain the next level of
membership in our OnePass program.
Similarly, we’re looking at using it to push
information to employee desktops, such as
news items or the number of remaining travel
passes that employees have.‖

With its gadget, Continental is reaching out to
customers in a new way that delivers
increased value and convenience. ―A gadget
for Windows Sidebar opens up a whole new
world of possibilities in how we can
communicate with employees and
customers,‖ says Senn. ―We expect it to be
especially useful in connecting with those
                                                                         A gadget for Windows Sidebar enables Continental Airlines customers to perform flight
frequent flyers who consistently depend on
                                                                         searches and check-in online from the convenience of the Windows Vista desktop. The
Continental for their travel needs.‖                                     gadget can appear either docked (small graphic) or undocked (large graphic).

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published March 2007

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