Chicago, IL, March 15, 2006, Circling the airport at 30,000 feet and worried about those waiting for you below? Worry no more when you book your trip with Orbitz.com.
Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), the faster, easier way to find the trip you want, announced today another advance in its industry-leading customer contact services. The OrbitzTLC Alert system now informs a traveler's preset list of as many as six friends, family members or business contacts of an arrival delay, which can occur during the course of a flight. When booking a flight through Orbitz.com, alerts are available for more than two dozen participating airlines, including all major U.S. carriers.
Since 2001, Orbitz has led the online travel industry in proactively contacting millions of customers about issues that can affect a trip, before it even begins. Orbitz was the first online travel agency to build a Care Center, and the first travel service with its own staff of former air traffic controllers and travel specialists who alert customers of weather, heavy airport traffic that often results in departure delays and emergency travel situations. All of the OrbitzTLC air traffic specialists have U.S. military weather monitoring certification and several have received additional certification from the National Weather Service. Orbitz' original contact alert was the first of its kind to inform flyers, before they stepped foot into the airport, of flight departure delays or gate changes.
OrbitzTLC Alerts continue to be available via mobile phone, PDA, text message or email.
"Orbitz was a customer care pioneer in 2001 and has been a clear leader ever since, sending nearly 50 million alerts in the last two years alone to help travelers avoid problems while they're on-the-go," said Mitch Truwit, president and CEO, Orbitz. "We have a unique combination of high tech, human touch offerings that come together in our OrbitzTLC Center, staffed 24/7."
Customers can learn more about OrbitzTLC Alerts and get to know the people powering the OrbitzTLC Center by visiting http://www.orbitzandgo.com/tlc/micro/index.html. Powered by proprietary customer response technology, OrbitzTLC delivers to travelers the following alert functionality:
- Flight Arrival Delays. Announced Today! Now in addition to departure delays, this new functionality automatically informs as many as six friends, family members or business contacts that a customer's flight experienced an unforeseen delay after take-off, causing a late arrival to a destination city. Travelers designate a list of contacts on Orbitz.com who need to be informed of any mid-air delays. Travelers can also designate the best way to reach each contact - via mobile phone, PDA, SMS text messaging or email.
"The source of a flight delay can include anything from air space congestion to rapidly changing weather conditions in a flight path, which slows arrivals to a given destination," said Kelly Serna, an OrbitzTLC Air Traffic Analyst, and former air traffic controller. "The weather may be crystal clear in departure and arrival cities, but conditions can deteriorate mid-course and divert flight paths causing delays all over the country."
- Flight Cancellations, Departure Delays or Gate Changes. Introduced in 2001, Orbitz continues its leadership in proactive care by contacting customers - hours before they set foot in an airport - of flight cancellations, departure delays or gate changes. Users can preset when they want to receive alerts, from between 3 to 5 hours before flight time. Travelers can designate how they want receive the alerts, either via mobile phone, PDA, SMS text messaging or email.
- Severe Weather Updates. Orbitz informs affected customers via email of severe weather conditions that may have impacted their hotel booking or vacation. During 2005's summer of hurricanes, Orbitz alerted customers traveling to either the Gulf States or affected areas of Mexico that their hotel and surrounding area was impacted. Following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, weather alerts were sent to thousands of customers impacted by the storms.
- Emergency Information Briefings. Orbitz informs affected customers about information that can impact their travel, suggesting the best ways to keep their trip easy and enjoyable. Examples include the recent New York City Transit Strike and riots in suburban Paris, France.
- 24 Hour Flight Status Checks. OrbitzTLC specialists begin status checks for flight departures 24 hours before their scheduled take-off time. If a flight is cancelled, before a customer is scheduled to receive an alert via their mobile phone, PDA, SMS text messaging or email, the OrbitzTLC Center will proactively contact customers with rebooking options.
- Executive Car Service Alerts. Available in 30 major domestic markets when car service is booked through Orbitz.com, a customer's reservation is proactively managed and updates are sent to their executive luxury sedan service regarding any flight delays or changes.
This latest benefit from OrbitzTLC is supported by the launch of new broadcast advertising as part of the integrated 2006 campaign. The ad will continue its run throughout 2006 on a number of network and cable television stations. The advertisement is the first messaging to highlight the OrbitzTLC sub-brand, launched in January 2006.
"Customers have always loved our alerts, so we're building on that strength via the OrbitzTLC brand to give them more personal control over their travel experience," said Randy Wagner, Chief Marketing Officer, Orbitz.com. "The launch of our new Mid-Air ad shows people they can win the travel game in real life with the OrbitzTLC Alerts that they get, automatically, just by booking on Orbitz.com."
The new ad evolves last year's campaign forward, leaving the game show set, to demonstrate how travelers can win with Orbitz during real life moments. Featuring Wink Martindale, the broadcast advertising complements a media matrix of outreach efforts by demonstrating how customers can rest easy during a flight delay in mid-air as friends, family members and business colleagues are automatically updated on their arrival status.
Orbitz (www.Orbitz.com) is a leading online travel company that enables travelers to search for and purchase a broad array of travel products, including airline tickets, lodging, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Since launching its website www.Orbitz.com to the general public in June 2001, Orbitz has become the third largest online travel site based on gross travel bookings. On Orbitz, consumers can search more than 455 airlines, tens of thousands of lodging properties worldwide and 16 car rental companies. J.D. Power and Associates noted that Orbitz.com had the highest customer satisfaction for independent travel web sites - hotels in its 2005 Independent Hotel Web Site StudySM. Study based on responses from 3,668 consumers who booked their hotel reservations through an independent travel Web site. www.jdpower.com. Orbitz was acquired by Cendant's Travel Distribution Services division in November 2004 and is part of the Consumer Travel Americas group. Sign up for RSS Feeds on Orbitz by visiting http://rss.orbitz.com.