Oneworld has completed initial trials of artificial intelligence technology to assist customers booking round-the-world (RTW) tickets.

The alliance said that in contrast to the general shift towards online booking channels, the majority of RTW itineraries are still booked with human agents, as a result of their complicated make-up with “hundreds of possible destinations and millions of possible flight combinations”.

In attempt to overcome this oneworld tasked AI firm Elemental Cognition to build a solution “that combines the power and flexibility of the best human agents with the convenience and efficiency of a self-serve technology solution”.

The alliance said that Elemental Cognition’s “breakthrough reasoning, natural language understanding, and dialog capabilities” has resulted in a solution which “understands a customer’s needs, helps them weigh options and trade-offs while proactively warning them of potential issues”, while “navigating the complex product rules and ever-changing flight availability”.

Oneworld said that initial results of the trial had been “very promising”, with customers using the new tool four times more likely to create bookable RTW itineraries which meet their requirements, than those using the alliance’s standard booking interface.

Commenting on the news oneworld CEO Rob Gurney, said:

“As our customers plan their next international adventure, we are focused on improving the experience for travellers booking a oneworld Round the World ticket.

We’ve partnered with Elemental Cognition to elevate the technology powering our booking experience, and ease the challenge our customers face when planning such complex journeys.”

In 2019 oneworld unveiled plans for a “digital revolution”, which it said would enable customers flying on connecting flights on oneworld airlines to be able to “check-in, obtain boarding passes, track baggage, receive flight updates and pay for additional services through their preferred airline’s app or website”.

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