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American Airlines Deploys HEAT System To Help in Weather Delays

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury


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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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American Airlines has recently launched a new system to help combat flight cancellations during severe weather at hubs nationwide. It’s called HEAT, the Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool, and it’s used by the Integrated Operations Center to keep passengers and crew moving.

What Is HEAT?

HEAT is an in-house technology developed by American Airlines that has already saved over 1,000 flights from getting canceled.

Here’s how it works. HEAT takes into account the following things when making a decision:

  • Air traffic control issues
  • Crew constraints
  • Customer connections
  • Gate availability
  • How full the flights are

Putting all of these variables together, HEAT determines how to adjust arrivals and departures. For example, many passengers connecting from one flight to another may cause HEAT to delay the departure of one flight and also delay the departure of the second flight so that passengers can make the connection. It also may prompt one flight to take off, if the system knows there’s a flight coming up to the same destination with plenty of seats on it.

American Airlines Heat
Image Credit: American Airlines

HEAT is fully dynamic and works behind the scenes, fully automated, to help adjust the schedule for the day based on the severe weather and how it is impacting the hubs. For American, this is crucial, as several of the hubs are in weather-prone areas. Dallas, for example, sees many severe thunderstorms, while Chicago is a magnet for winter weather.

Further, every time American runs HEAT, it uses the data and outcomes to improve the system so the next time it runs it’s even smarter.

Hot Tip:

If your flight is in fact canceled or delayed, one of the fastest ways of getting ahold of customer service is through social media. American Airlines provides customer support through Facebook and Twitter.

Final Thoughts

American Airlines’ HEAT technology has been working for the past several monthss and has already done a great job of preventing cancellations. It will continue to run into the future, all behind the scenes, without customers ever knowing a thing, to help prevent the next round of cancellations during severe weather.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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