"On my flight to Toronto there were about 50 senior citizens, all part of a group traveling together. As you can imagine, they were not very mobile so you can guess what happened when there was a last-minute gate change from one end to another in Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. As senior citizens, these people were not frequent fliers, so the gate change created considerable anxiety as none of them really knew where to go plus the physical burden.

Needless to say it wasn’t the best passenger experience for them.

I’m sure you all have similar travel stories whether from the viewpoint of the passenger or those behind the scenes managing the day of operations.”

Dana Jones, Sabre Airline Solutions’ Chief Marketing Officer, shared this scenario with a room full of men and women no stranger to situations like this- nearly 300 airline employees who work behind the scenes daily turning the complexities of running an airline into smooth operations.

It is a common traveler tale of woe she shares but one airlines are working diligently toward improving every day.

As Dana said, “operating efficiently is challenging even when everything goes as planned. Communications may be fragmented or not real-time, systems may not be fully integrated and there will be implications on cost. Although you executed the schedule, opportunities could still exist to further streamline operations and reduce costs."

And when you add interruptions like weather, mechanical delays, crew out of time, out of service aircraft or one of any other number of examples, there is a lot more at stake. In addition to cost, a broken schedule equals an inconsistent customer experience.

“Clearly, executing the schedule isn’t enough.  Operating efficiently isn’t enough. We must do more as an industry.  Delivering on the promise you make to every passenger to get them from point A to point B, will require a new approach,” Jones said.

Providing a consistent customer experience with operational efficiency requires a truly connected airline.

To Sabre, a connected airline allows its employees to be proactive from long-term planning through day of operations.  Capabilities include alerting to crew, aircraft and passengers, optimized resource planning, automated recovery, paperless cockpit and total cost management.

During the three-day conference, the Sabre Air Centre team will host a number of forums, panel discussions and feedback sessions with its airline customers to discuss the connected airline and how to make it happen.

What's your ideal 'connected airline' and how do you think it would improve your flight experience?