Research Question


Mar 9, 2004
Hi all, I am doing a research project for a Supply Chain Management course. I was assigned the airline industry - which is a pretty open-ended topic, but I think I am required to do some in depth analysis on what goes on in order to make a flight happen (food and fuel procurement, scheduling, interaction with ticket brokers, etc.). If anyone has any ideas or resources they can point me towards, I would very much appreciate it... Thanks
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  • #4
By ticket broker, I meant travel agents, websites (Travelocity, Expedia), or any other end consumer/airliner interface.
Having worked in the Travel Agent industry for about 8 years I may be able to answer whatever questions you have... I don't know that I could correctly answer the Fuel and Catering Questions you may have though...

Im not exactly sure what you're looking for other than saying that Travel Agencies Basically are able to Book Clients on Commercial Airlines...

Ex: Mr smith comes into xyz Travel Agency Looking for an Airline ticket from PHL (Philadelphia) to MIA ( Miami) They are always gonna look for the LOWEST FARE So XYZ Travel Agent types in request and lets Mr. Smith know what the Fare will be for his Desired Itinerary... This all depends on Mr Smiths Flexablilty in Travel (At least that was the way I used to Book People) MR Smith and XYZ Travel Agent find the Fare he is looking for...XYZ Travel Agent Prints MR Smiths ticket and he is on his way.... HOWEVER, Mr Smith will still need to get to the Airport in and Appropriate time frame to make his flight AND get the desired seat he his looking for...And of course don't forget the Security Screening Lines that he will have to go through.....

Don't know if that helped...Let me know if you have more questions... I will do my best to try and help you out.......
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Sure, that would be one example of whats going on in that specific interaction between a n end consumer, the travel agent, and the airliner - there are many other situations that involve other members of the supply chain. Examples would be food and fuel procurement for flights, plane maintenance, scheduling, meeting regulations, etc.

This is a really open ended question, thank you for your time in writing a response.
Not sure that this anything more than a statement of the obvious...

The supply chain for a particular flight is a lot more complicated than say the supply chain for the manufacture of a steel beam for a construction project. There are so many variables even for one supply chain, let's say catering--for instance, what time of the day are you talking about. An AA flight from DFW-RNO at 10am will not have catering other than snacks and beverages boarded. A DFW-RNO flight departing at 1800 will have dinner trays catered for F/C in addition to the snacks and beverages.

Now given that, there is the load to consider. Not only must the caterer not "over-cater" those first class meals, they must also have meals available at a convenient location just in case there are unexpected last minute passengers in F/C. For instance, if the F/C confirmed load is 6 [out of 16 available seats] 24 hours out, the caterer's instructions may be to prepare load + 2 meals. However, if 6 highrollers walk up to the ticket counter one hour before departure, and are willing to pay full F/C fare to get on that 1800 flight, you can be assured that there will be meals catered for those passengers.

It's why meals tend to be the same at a given time of the year for a given class of service--and yes, there are different classes of service for F/C. The F/C meal for DFW-LGA is more elaborate than a F/C meal for DFW-RNO. Each day the caterer prepares x number of additional F/C meals for each class of service which are stored at a location in the airport terminal--usually the catering kitchen is too far away to provide last minute catering from there.

And, that ain't all. Early morning flights have milk--both skim and 2%--catered for coach. Flights the rest of the day, do not. And, that's only at AA. I don't know what other airlines do.

And, we haven't even checked your bags yet. Good luck with your project. :up:

Try checking airline websites and look at their annual reports to shareholders. These always have lots of information and detailed numbers.

Good luck.
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Wow, some tasty tidbits of info to digest - hehe, thank you so much for the input.

I really appreciate the help everyone has offered with respect to this topic... At the very least, I see areas to look further into.