A company that helps train operators automatically process delay compensation believes its technology can help smooth the process out for airlines.
Celaton’s machine-learning technology software inSTREAM is designed to streamline processes and is currently used by train operators such as Virgin Trains.
It offers two solutions to train companies.
The first is by taking information entered manually by humans and using its artificial intelligence to cross-reference that against journeys to work out if a claim is valid and how much compensation a passenger is entitled to.
It also has a completely automated system which tracks tickets, often advance tickets for specific trains, which it can work out correlates to a delayed train and automatically refund affected passengers the next day.
Celaton even says its technology can help root out fraudulent claims, by tracking regular claimants, looking at patterns to check for irregularities and flag suspicious claims which it puts on hold until a human has investigated it.
Gina Gray, Celaton’s commercial director, believes the same approach would work with airlines. In fact, it could work even better because airlines know more information about their passengers than train operators do.
“Airlines know much more about their customers. Train customers could buy a ticket from the platform while to board a flight you have to go through passport control and airport security.
“I don’t think the general public makes as many claims to airlines as they could be.”
Gray said she believes a trend showing more claims in the train industry will educate consumers that they can claw money back when their flights are delayed.
“At the moment, people process that, and it’s expensive for airlines,” she said.
“Just like train operatrs, when you look at what they have to carry out, it’s very manually intensive and there’s a lot of validation they have to do on systems that are outside of their organisations.”
Gray went on to say government legislation announced in October 2016 which will eventually make all UK train companies pay out on delays of 15 minutes or more will further educate consumers of their entitlements.
“I don’t think it will be a long time before airlines are forced to follow suit,” she said.
“Because we know who was on a flight and how long it was delayed for, inSTREAM can help process delay claims automatically.”
She said she would expect the more premium airlines to take the lead on automatically paying out compensation, adding: “They want to portray a quality image and a brand that cares about their customers, and we want to help them reduce the cost of processing these claims.”