CISO to Mentor Cybersecurity Startups in Support of India’s Manufacturing and Economic Growth Initiatives

It’s no secret that for a travel technology company to innovate, it must keep a keen pulse on tomorrow’s talent, tools, and trends. After all, the future is a lot closer than it appears. It’s unfolding right here, right now.

Fareportal takes pride in having some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the Travel & Tourism industry among its ranks who are dedicated to leading the way as we continue to define the future of travel. One of these shining lights is Ankur Ahuja, CISO and Vice President of Information Security.

Ankur has been working hand-in-hand with the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) for more than eight years. Long recognized as an information security subject matter expert, he is among 27 professionals recently selected by the DSCI to be a startup mentor for the National Centre of Excellence (N-CoE) for Cybersecurity Technology Development, a joint initiative formed by the DSCI and India’s Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY). In this advisory role, Ankur will support the growth of approximately 30 early-stage cybersecurity startups of national interest by providing guidance and feedback on the companies’ programs. His efforts will support India’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives that aim to secure manufacturing investment, bolster economic growth, and improve online infrastructure in the second-most populous country in the world.

Ankur’s mentorship selection gives him the opportunity to reap the rewards that only a select group of individuals can access. He will be able to keep that ever-important pulse on the latest happenings in India’s cybersecurity industry, and he will work directly with startups that address new problems that surface in the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape, keeping him at the cutting edge of the industry.

Like Ankur, Fareportal will benefit too. Our cybersecurity team partners with many startup agencies to keep our data safe, and it’s likely that Ankur will mentor startups that will be able to solve Fareportal’s security challenges of the future.

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

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!

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.

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.