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Reports From the Forum

“I Can Predict the Status of Your Next British Airways Flight”

“I Can Predict the Status of Your Next British Airways Flight”
FlyerTalk

The FlyerTalk Forum is a pretty big place, so when a particularly good piece of FlyerTalk comes across our desks, we put it on the front page for regular Reports From the Forum. Want to read more? Check out the Reports From the Forum tag, or head to the forum yourself to see what the FlyerTalk is about.

We never stop being surprised by the posts we find in the FlyerTalk forums. Today, that surprise is coming in the form of a clairvoyant in the British Airways forum. OK, so they’re not exactly psychics but they are the people behind the new travel tech startup Zenner, designed to help people track their flights.

How the Magic Happens

To get your free reading, all you have to do is head to Zenner’s website and tell them your email address and your flight number (including a connection) within 48 hours of your trip.

Then they’ll identify or predict a disruption (a 4hr+ delay, cancellation, diversion, missed connection) automatically and give you a list of flight options.

Is This An Ad?

Kind of. Zenner wants the frequent flyers on FlyerTalk to help them test out their product and see just how accurate they can be. And do you now know that Zenner is a thing because you read this? Sure. But they’re also here to avgeek:

“I’m sure there are people in this forum who can recite the Heathrow departures schedule, chapter and verse, who feel exactly the same way, and in the event of a disruption, can no doubt navigate Google flights with extraordinary speed.

We’re trying to see if we can learn the ‘butterfly effect,’ where you predict the knock-on effect of a delay or a weather condition and spot a potential cancellation far enough in advance to change plans…

I was hoping the forum wanted to debate the likelihood of NATS calling for a ground stop depending on the METAR for Heathrow, or when BA decides to swap equipment versus cancelling a flight, but people have a right to debate what they care about, and in the wake of recent years, I don’t begrudge that many people are more focussed on privacy law.

In Layman’s Terms

Whether or not you want to lend Zenner a helping hand, you should know that there’s no charge for lending a hand and trying it out.

And, while you may be able to recite the Heathrow departures schedule, the hope is that less-knowledgeable flyers will see Zenner’s $59 premium membership fee “a bit like buying a 3rd party warranty on a ticket” that lets them rebook you on another flight “if you don’t want to wait around for the BA offered replacement.”

And, says Zenner, the algorithm could eventually be used to help people make booking decisions in advance, “For example: if you know there’s a 90% chance that morning flight will have weather issues tomorrow, but the day after is only 20%, maybe you’ll see if you can shift your plans by a day instead.”

Are They Selling My Data?

Remember when we realized that Hilton could read your e-mails and check your browser history? The digital future is a lot of fun. And, with British Airways and Hilton’s data breaches in everyone’s recent history, Zenner has been accused of being e-mail address peddlers and data miners.
They’re adamant that that isn’t the point of this exercise and, it’s worth mentioning, OP has been posting for years, and “You’ll note from previous responses, I’m clearly an engineer and aviation enthusiast more than I am a lawyer or privacy expert.”
If you’d like to give this project the benefit of the doubt, you can join in on the conversation in this FlyerTalk forum thread.
View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. fotographer

    January 15, 2020 at 3:59 am

    yeah whatever…

  2. htb

    January 15, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Zenner Your flight tomorrow is probably going to be delayed and you are likely to miss your connection
    BA: That will be 600 GBP of you want to change your ticket.

  3. GlobalMatt

    January 15, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    @htb

    …and another 160 GBP for a seat assignment.

  4. trickshot

    January 17, 2020 at 4:17 am

    They should try with Air France. A coin toss would be near enough.

  5. RaoulM

    January 17, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Also BA: You’ve missed your connection and it is $1200 GBP for a new flight because we didn’t link the reservations like you specifically requested when you made them.

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