Ever Tried to Buy Last-Minute Plane Tickets?
Everyone must have experienced this at least once:
Situation 1: You are casually surfing through a flight search engine. No rush, no pressure… until you see it: a really good deal! Round trip Moscow – London for only 59 USD! Give me two! With trembling hands (every second counts!) you push the buttons until you are on the page with your personal data. But who in the world made the keyboard buttons so small??? It’s ‘A’, not ‘S’ ! No, ‘A’! Finally, after a lot of cursing and sweating you get all the information right… only to see your tickets snatched away.
to add passenger information
to integrate the feature
passports processed in 4 months
Situation 2: Having planned your vacations with friends, you are searching for flights with particular dates and directions. Bingo! Direct return flights Moscow-Beijing for just 399 USD per person! You start booking the tickets, at the same time calling your friends and asking for their passport details. To save time they send you photos of their passports – a total of 5, all rotated at different angles… So you waste your precious time rotating them to the right positions, memorizing the data, entering and then verifying and correcting again and again…. In the end only 4 seats are left available for the flight…
There is no need to continue with the examples. Millions of people encounter the very same problem every day. So Russia’s largest flight search engine Aviasales (known as JetRadar to the rest of the world) has decided to lift the extra stress off their clients. Their ultimate goal was to have the fields filled in just in one ‘click’.
If you ever had to search for flights online, then you have come across Aviasales or JetRadar as it is one of the largest travel search engines gathering airfares from 728 airlines, 100+ agencies and 5 booking systems. Catering to the most recent trends, they have acknowledged the growing use of mobile apps for searching and booking plane tickets and acted upon it: according to the App Store rankings, their applications rank is in the top 10.
The scale at which Aviasales operate is impressive: its website and apps are used by 5 million people per month, with the users making 400 000 searches per day and spending an average of 30 seconds searching for tickets. Although the search process is very fast and easy, booking and buying tickets from the mobile device used to be a challenge. One problem which bothered most people was inserting their personal details into the database manually. It was crucial to facilitate this step as much as possible. The idea which occurred to the Aviasales team is ingenious in its simplicity and yet doesn’t have any working alternatives: you take a picture of your passport and the app extracts your personal information. Then you just wait a few seconds and see all the fields filled in automatically.
But is it that simple in practice? Why is the solution unique? Passports differ from each other just as much as the countries they are made in: variety of backgrounds, field alignments, languages, etc. So the company started looking for a solution which would be flexible enough to take all the differences into account and yet guarantee superb quality. Only ABBYY was up to the challenge and already had an ideal solution at hand - ABBYY Cloud OCR SDK. The service is platform-independent (which is crucial for cross-platform applications), famous for its award-winning accuracy, and very easy to implement which will make their product stand out. ABBYY Cloud OCR SDK is certainly among the features which add extra value to the customer experience and ensure that most smartphone users have the Aviasales or JetRadar brand in their pockets.
It only takes 3 simple steps:
Step 1. Passenger info page. Tap the “New passenger” button. Choose to add information by taking a photo. Focus on the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ).
Step 2. Take a photo of the MRZ. Wait for a couple of seconds. The passport is being processed by ABBYY Cloud OCR SDK.
Step 3. Congratulations! All passenger information has been filled in automatically!
However, while the new Russian passports were being processed, it turned out that 100% accuracy recognition results were not enough!
The thing is that due to the new Russian passport MRZ coding system, last name SHEVCHUK (ШЕВЧУК in Cyrillic writing), for example, is now encoded as S4EV3UK in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ). Renowned for its 99,9 % accuracy ABBYY OCR technology dutifully recognized and extracted it as S4EV3UK, which, of course is not applicable for registration of the e-tickets.
Thanks to an open API, Aviasales/JetRadar developing team easily added a small script to the whole system which allowed to transform the MRZ passenger name coding into traditional official name writing suitable for registration for the flight (i.e. S4EV3UK transforms into SHEVCHUK).
It took only 2 weeks to integrate automatic filling in of the personal details into the application.
Aviasales/JetRadar is already one of the largest online travel search engines and they continue to grow by 200% per year and to expand their customer base. The key to their huge success is getting priorities right: they always put their customers first. Among other things it means foreseeing users’ desires and ceaselessly searching for.
So in the latest version of Aviasales/JetRadar mobile apps users only have to take a photo of a passport, and we do the rest: capture passenger’s personal details from it and fill in the fields. Thanks to automatization, in the past 4 months more than 10 000 lucky users have been able to grab those last-minute tickets and make the best of their vacation. Today this function is available on Aviasales and JetRadar for iOS, and it is soon to be launched for Android. On-the-go passport recognition based on ABBYY Cloud OCR SDK is certainly among the features which add extra value to the customer experience and ensure that most smartphone users have the Aviasales or JetRadar brand in their pockets.