The OrbitzTLC Traveler Update provides up-to-the-minute updates from fellow travelers about security wait times, traffic and parking, taxi lines and more. This new social networking tool is offered in addition to Orbitz’ current air-traffic updates, FAA airport updates, traffic delays and weather reports. When we visited the site, a traveler reported that there was no wait at Terminal 2 at O’Hare for curbside check-in for Continental and US Airways, but SFO and JFK had no current traveler reports. Naturally, a tool such as this is only good when a lot of people contribute, so Orbitz is running ads on FlyerTalk.com to entice travelers to post updates. Traveler Update has plans to introduce a rating system that will rank contributors by their helpfulness.
An article at brandweek.com about the need for services such as this quotes Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst at Forrester Research: “What this shows is that airlines are asleep at the wheel when it comes to offering a relevant experience online. They’re as single-minded as a horny teenager going out on a Saturday night. Airlines are just focused on selling the ticket. They don’t focus on the customer relationship.”