CheapOair Becomes First Online Travel Agency to Offer Native Enrollment in American Airlines’ AAdvantage®

Another company first has been achieved!

Our loyalty program, CheapOair Rewards, gives customers a personalized experience and member-only deals. Customers can join for free and they earn points on every booking; to sweeten things up, they earn double points on every booking made in the CheapOair app. The program offers a seamless travel booking and service experience, and as travelers continue to book with CheapOair, they unlock generous benefits as they reach higher point tiers.

That experience has just become even more seamless, thanks to a vote of confidence from American Airlines.

Continuing our focus on the customer journey and travel technology innovation, our Product and Tech teams worked to build a cutting-edge solution that integrates American’s AAdvantage® loyalty program into the CheapOair site. With just a single click, CheapOair Rewards members can now sign up for AAdvantage and simultaneously reap the benefits of both programs! This integration makes travel planning much easier by giving our CheapOair Rewards members the opportunity to sign up for AAdvantage directly on CheapOair.com.

American Airlines is one of our biggest partners, so collaborating to offer a seamless way to enroll in their loyalty program makes sense. With the launch, CheapOair becomes the first OTA to offer this level of service to their customers.

More CheapOair Rewards enhancements are on the way. Stay tuned!

Fareportal’s CheapOair First OTA to offer AAdvantage® customer enrollment program in partnership with American Airlines

Continuing their focus on travel technology innovation, Fareportal, the company that powers online travel agencies CheapOair and OneTravel, announced this week that CheapOair, in partnership with American Airlines, has launched their AAdvantage® customer enrollment program.  CheapOair Rewards members are now able to sign up for the American AAdvantage® loyalty program with ease at the time of booking. This innovative partnership and technology integration will provide an effortless experience for CheapOair Rewards loyalty members by eliminating the need to go through a separate sign-up process for AAdvantage® on the American Airlines site.  With the launch, CheapOair becomes the first OTA to offer this level of access to their customers.

“We are passionate about building cutting-edge technology solutions for the traveling public.  Members of our loyalty program, CheapOair Rewards, will now be able to enjoy the benefits of their membership in the program, and at the same time earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles,” said Glenn Cusano, Co-CEO and CFO of Fareportal.

“AAdvantage makes earning and redeeming miles for travel easy, so collaborating with Fareportal to offer a seamless way to enroll in the program makes perfect sense,” said Neil Geurin, Managing Director of Digital and Distribution for American Airlines.  “We look forward to welcoming new members onboard as part of their journey with CheapOair.”

CheapOair Rewards offers travelers access to member-only deals, allows earning and redeeming points to save on bookings, unlocks benefits as they reach higher tiers, and provides a seamless travel booking and service experience.  The company plans additional enhancements to the program in the coming months.

About Fareportal  
Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next-generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international and domestic flight, hotel and other travel and add-on ancillaries.

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CheapOair iOS and Android App Development Moves to React Native

Recently, our Mobile Engineering team successfully migrated the development of our CheapOair apps for iOS and Android to React Native.

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework that provides a single codebase, effectively eliminating the need to code separately for iOS and Android. Our team’s ability to share this codebase across platforms boosts their productivity, improves speed to market, allows for quicker integration with partner offerings, and delivers a greatly improved customer experience.

Our Mobile Engineering team took a data-driven approach and closely analyzed usage in preparation for this awesome migration. They identified engagement pattern shifts that took place throughout the app, and they used the collected data to prioritize development to serve our customers’ evolving travel needs. Once React Native launched, the team quickly rolled out in-demand features and performance improvements – resulting in a double-digit conversion rate gain.

This new architectural foundation places CheapOair in an even stronger position to bring more new travel-related digital products to their customers. Part of an ongoing series of enhancements, Fareportal’s Mobile Engineering team is poised to roll out new travel-related digital products to CheapOair’s iOS and Android apps in its mission to provide an end-to-end, all-in-one planning & booking solution for the traveling public.

Fareportal Mobile Apps Evolve to Single Code Solution with React Native

Fareportal, the travel technology company powering online travel agencies CheapOair and OneTravel, has successfully migrated its CheapOair apps for iOS and Android to React Native.

With this technology consolidation, the company’s commitment to a lean, efficient travel technology organization is further realized, as React Native provides a single codebase alleviating the need to code separately for iOS and Android.  It bolsters mobile engineering productivity, as a single codebase can be shared across platforms, improves speed to market, allows quicker integration with partner offerings, and delivers a greatly improved customer experience.

“We are constantly updating our Mobile Apps as new features are added.  Rather than simply rewriting the CheapOair mobile apps, our mobile engineering team took a data-driven approach, closely analyzed usage, and identified engagement pattern shifts throughout the app,” said Glenn Cusano, Co-CEO and CFO of Fareportal.  “The team then prioritized development to serve evolving customer needs.  When the React Native version was launched, we were pleased to see a double-digit conversion rate gain.”

Part of an ongoing series of enhancements, Fareportal’s mobile engineering team is poised to roll out new travel-related digital products to CheapOair’s iOS and Android apps in its mission to provide an end-to-end, all-in-one planning & booking solution for the traveling public.

About Fareportal
Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next-generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company-owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international and domestic flight, hotel, and other travel and add-on ancillaries.

About CheapOair
CheapOair is an online travel agency that specializes in providing cheap flights and great last-minute flight deals for travelers worldwide. Consumers can book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone or live chat. Part of Fareportal’s family of travel brands, CheapOair bridges the gap between an online travel agency and a traditional agency with travel agents available 24/7 to help find discount flight tickets to global destinations on over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and 100s of car rental companies. Follow CheapOair on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for travel inspiration and helpful travel tips.

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IVR System Enhancements

The coronavirus pandemic delivered a perfect storm to the Travel & Tourism industry virtually overnight. Fareportal was not immune to the rapidly evolving business and operational landscape. Call volume rose exponentially as worldwide travel restrictions went into effect, our Operations team scrambled to meet this unprecedented demand, and companywide our global teams were faced with adapting to the logistics of a new work-from-home norm. As more customers called, our call volumes went up by more than 50% in March 2020 while call wait times skyrocketed and failed to meet company standards.

It was clear to our teams that it was prime time to develop highly capable tools that efficiently meet the high demand and ultimately, our customers’ needs. Our Technology and Customer Service teams worked diligently to create high-value solutions for inbound precision routing to improve our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

Several enhancements were made to our IVR after March 2020. Prompts that reflect our customers’ changing needs were added to support our most in-demand services, and the validation process was shortened to reduce call wait times for more than 60% of our customers. The improved system now consistently redirects our customers to highly capable travel experts who are trained to meet their specific booking and post-booking needs.

Our customers were connected to our newly created, dedicated COVID-19 help desks. Over 25,000 inbound calls were answered, and customer queries were resolved much quicker. Our processes progressively became more streamlined, the high demand was efficiently met, and our customers were even more satisfied with our ability to meet their travel needs.

Security was enhanced so that our customers could safely pay for their bookings through IVR.  Our new security features make the booking experience even more seamless, effortless, and quick.

Fareportal Customer Service Operations Omnichannel Design

An enhanced customer experience is being provided through our omnichannel customer experience where our customers can interact through voice, chat, or our Self-Service Tool (SST). Our teams saw a dramatic 45% increase in customer preference for the self-service options. In response, our IVR system prominently promotes SST so that our customers can make changes to their bookings and apply for cancellations and refunds on their own.

As Fareportal’s commitment to uniting people and places across the planet evolves, new capabilities such as speech IVR will be added.

Employee Engagement Top Priority as Fareportal Launches New Initiative

Fareportal, the travel technology company powering online travel agencies CheapOair and OneTravel, has announced the launch of their companywide “Learn As You Grow” career development initiative.

With Learn As You Grow, Fareportal employees are given access to a wide variety of learning opportunities via online courses.  Participation is encouraged via corporate communications outreach, and staffers’ time during the workday can be allocated to attending courses.

“Companies that provide growth and training opportunities for their teams are more likely to attract and retain talent,” said Werner Kunz-Cho, CEO of Fareportal.  “Our employees have always been receptive to the learning opportunities we have created for them.  Learn As You Grow formalizes our commitment to the professional and personal growth of our global workforce.”

Glenn Cusano, CO-CEO and CFO at Fareportal comments, “As a company, we know that people are our most important asset.  This initiative is another example of the high value Fareportal places on providing our employees with a challenging and rewarding environment in which to work.”

As Covid-induced lockdowns created remote work environments that did not previously exist, the importance of positive employee engagement has come into focus for corporations worldwide.  Interestingly, research shows that employee engagement in the US actually increased during 2020, as corporate leaders stepped up communication with employees in response to the rapidly evolving situation and were perceived as being more communicative and responsive than in normal times.

Fareportal expects to unveil additional employee engagement programs before the end of 2021.

About Fareportal
Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company-owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international and domestic flight, hotel, and other travel and add-on ancillaries.

Fareportal Named Top 10 in Esteemed Travel Industry Power List

Fareportal, the travel technology company powering online travel agencies CheapOair and One Travel, landed the 10th place spot in the 2021 Travel Weekly Power List. This annual ranking, published by the prestigious industry journal, highlights travel industry leaders in the business and leisure travel space.

“It is extremely gratifying to once again be recognized by the editors of Travel Weekly.  Travel is an extremely complex business that requires ongoing diligence to maintain leading-edge technological capabilities,” said Werner Kunz-Cho, CEO of Fareportal.  He comments further, “We are very proud of our Fareportal team members, who have dedicated their efforts to providing the traveling public with an excellent flight and travel booking experience.”

The 2021 Power List is unusual, given the circumstances caused by the global pandemic.  Companies were asked to share information regarding the impact on their business caused by the events of last year, and their thoughts regarding the recovery of travel.  With the exception of 2020 merger and acquisition activity, rankings were frozen at previous levels and represent gross travel sales in pre-pandemic 2019.

Glenn Cusano, CO-CEO and CFO at Fareportal comments, “We see travel numbers getting better every week.  The challenge today is to identify and stay responsive to trends in the marketplace.  Consumer travel behaviors are shifting rapidly as domestic and global travel restrictions are updated.  Our focus on data science to inform our corporate decision-making serves us very well in this environment.”

About Fareportal  
Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company-owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and One Travel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat.  Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international and domestic flights, hotels, and other travel and add-on ancillaries.

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CheapOair Reports: Mature Market Travel Shows Signs of Recovery

According to the CDC’s latest information, 63.7% of Americans have now received the Covid-19 vaccine.  Not surprisingly, the highest vaccine adoption levels are in older age groups.  Persons 50-64 index 136 against their representative percentage of the population for vaccination; 65-74 index 170; and persons 75 and older index 164.  Overall, 86% of persons 65+ have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, and 75% of this demographic group in the USA are now fully vaccinated.

There are also positive indicators that US vaccination levels appear to be contributing to air travel flight booking trends.  According to leading online travel agency CheapOair, flight bookings by passengers 55 years of age and older are trending solidly upward.  The OTA reports a 21% increase in 2021 year-to-date bookings as a percent of total for persons 55-64, and a significant 70% increase in the same data for seniors 65+.

Glenn Cusano, Co-CEO and CFO of Fareportal, the company behind CheapOair and One Travel comments, “We are watching industry trends, and our own booking data, very closely.  In addition to the mature market numbers, we are also seeing some interesting developments in US Domestic business travel activity. This sector has lagged behind leisure travel all year.  But since early May, business travel numbers have risen to a level on par with Leisure/Non-Family travel.  We’re still a long way from where we were in 2019, but it’s encouraging to see growth across multiple key areas.”

Indicators of a return to travel for seniors and the business market are fueling increased optimism across the travel industry as the summer travel season arrives in the northern hemisphere.

Please note: Before traveling, be sure to check local regulations and notices for any Covid-related restrictions, rules, and safety guidelines that may be in place. For additional information please visit the CDC website for up-to-date health and wellness information. 

About CheapOair
CheapOair is an online travel agency that specializes in providing cheap flights and great last-minute flight deals for travelers worldwide. Consumers can book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Part of Fareportal’s family of travel brands, CheapOair bridges the gap between an online travel agency and a traditional agency with travel agents available 7 days a week to help find great prices on flight tickets to global destinations on over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and 100s of car rental companies. Follow CheapOair on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for travel inspiration and helpful travel tips.

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Not a Beach Lover? CheapOair Shares Memorial Day Destination Ideas

Memorial Day is finally here, and Americans are ready to celebrate.  Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows over 60% of Americans have now received the vaccine and worries about getting out and about are continuing to diminish.

Heading to the beach or lakeside is a long-time favorite for many Americans.  But there are those that enjoy non-water recreational activities.  With that in mind, CheapOair  is offering a few suggestions for things to do over Memorial Day Weekend, for those who do not want to visit the beach. 

New York City
After a tough 2020, New York City is back.  Most of the Big Apple’s renowned attractions, from the Met to MoMA, from Macy’s to the Empire State Building…are once again open for business.  And Central Park has always been there waiting for exploration.  Visit NYC: The Official Guide for updates on what’s open in New York City.

Mystic, Connecticut
This small, laid-back town is an affordable option for a weekend escape.  If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll enjoy the sea-to-table restaurants located around the coast.  There is also the famous Mystic Pizza, seen in the 1998 film of the same name.  Things to do include the Mystic Seaport Museum, the Mystic Aquarium, or just strolling around this charming, historic town.

Palm Springs, California
Book a cheap domestic flight to California, grab your swimsuit, and enjoy the magical ambiance of Palm Springs.  If fitness is your thing, head to the Indian Canyons to spend the day hiking or biking through the desert.  To honor the occasion of Memorial Day,  the Palm Springs Air Museum will be paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice with their annual Flower Drop and Air Festival.  This event includes a tribute ceremony, followed by the dropping of red and white carnations from a vintage plane.  Music, food, and activities for the kids are also part of this two-day celebration.

“It’s gratifying to see people get excited about travel once again, and we wish everyone a fun and safe Memorial Day Weekend,” says Werner Kunz-Cho, CEO of Fareportal, the company behind online travel agencies CheapOair and One Travel.  He continues, “In the US, we’ve gone from a high of over 300,000 new covid cases per day in early January of this year, to just over 16,000 as of May 24th.  We want everyone to get out there and explore new adventures but urge continued adherence to CDC recommended covid safety protocols to get these numbers down as low as possible.”

Please note: With COVID-19 still prevalent, be sure to check local travel regulations and notices for any restrictions, rules, and safety guidelines that may be in place. For additional information please visit the CDC website for up-to-date health and wellness information. 

About CheapOair
CheapOair is an online travel agency that specializes in providing cheap flights and great last-minute flight deals for travelers worldwide. Consumers can book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Part of Fareportal’s family of travel brands, CheapOair bridges the gap between an online travel agency and a traditional agency with travel agents available 7 days a week to help find great prices on flight tickets to global destinations on over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and 100s of car rental companies. Follow CheapOair on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for travel inspiration and helpful travel tips.

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CheapOair Launches Cultural Heritage Travel Page on Miles Away Blog

As part of their initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in worldwide travel, CheapOair has launched a first-of-its-kind page on the company’s Miles Away blog dedicated to spotlighting Cultural Heritage Travel. 

The page debuted with an in-depth article on Stephanie Jones, a leading cultural heritage tourism thought leader who has introduced award-winning innovations and sustainable tourism initiatives that leverage cultural heritage as an economic driver in underrepresented communities and neighborhoods. Stephanie is the founder of some of the most innovative tourism initiatives that are designed to create diversity, equity, and inclusion in the travel industry, such as the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative (BTT), Black Cultural Heritage Tours, the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance (CHEA), Culture OnShore, and the National Cultural and Heritage Tourism Summit.  Stephanie is also a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

“Travel is a big economic driver. Shedding light on cultural heritage tourism allows our customers to enjoy great travel experiences, and at the same time contribute to the economies of the diverse communities they visit,” said Werner Kunz-Cho, CEO of Fareportal, the corporate owner of online travel agencies CheapOair and One Travel

CheapOair is also supporting the Black Cultural Heritage Tour’s U.S. road trip to connect with and share the stories of Black and Brown-owned businesses and attractions. Future stories on the page will include spotlights on the businesses, people, and ways to experience cultural heritage throughout the U.S.

“This is an important initiative for CheapOair and we are extremely pleased to be working in partnership with Stephanie Jones as Black Cultural Heritage Tours is brought to life.  We view sustainable tourism and cultural heritage travel as the wave of the future,” commented Glenn Cusano, Fareportal Co-CEO and CFO. He continues, “We are committed to this program.  Our vision is that the Miles Away blog will provide useful information that allows CheapOair customers to add sustainability and inclusion into their travel planning considerations.”

“Black cultural heritage is everywhere in this country and the U.S. travel and tourism industry has an incredible opportunity to do a better job promoting it, as well as including small Black businesses and attractions in travel brands and DMOs’ tourism marketing strategies. CheapOair connected with us about partnering to expand awareness of Black cultural heritage assets and experiences in the U.S. We are pleased to be a part of their effort to amplify diverse travel experiences to their audiences,” said Stephanie Jones.

About CheapOair
CheapOair is an online travel agency that specializes in providing cheap flights and great last-minute flight deals for travelers worldwide. Consumers can book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Part of Fareportal’s family of travel brands, CheapOair bridges the gap between an online travel agency and a traditional agency with travel agents available 7 days a week to help find great prices on flight tickets to global destinations on over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and 100s of car rental companies. Follow CheapOair on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for travel inspiration and helpful travel tips.

About National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative
BTT is powered by the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. (CHEA), a US 501(c)3 non-profit tourism development organization based in Washington, DC.  BTT works to create new game-changing initiatives and partner with industry allies to ensure Blacks in travel and tourism have equal access to opportunities to fully participate and profit in the global travel and tourism industry. Learn more at www.blacksintourism.org.

About Black Cultural Heritage Tours
Powered by Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), Black Cultural Heritage Tours curates local, immersive Black cultural heritage tour itineraries, experiences, and connections to the people and places that have shaped communities from the past to the present. As the only Black-owned receptive tour operator in the U.S., CHAT’s focus on Black-owned businesses and attractions seeks to level the playing field for small Black businesses while creating transformative experiences for culturally curious travelers to learn about history and celebrate the rich diversity of Black culture in the U.S. and all over the world. Learn more at www.experienceblackculture.com.

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