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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It is apparent that everything that is sustainable would have to go through advancement. In Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the desire for improvement is a constant subject, which triggers advancements. This is visible in every aspect of our lives and the airline industry is not excluded.
By convergence of the world into a global village, travelling great distances has become so common for not only business but also for pleasure purposes. Due to the fast-paced nature of the world today, air travel is considered as one of the first choice among several modes of transportation to save time. Therefore, to speed up the process of travelling by air, this project proposes the Airline Ticketing and Management System (ATMS), especially for passengers who do not have time to or do not want to visit a travel agent. Keeping in mind the fact that people might not have enough time out of their busy routine to go and visit a travel agent in order to make a reservation, most airlines have offered their services over the World Wide Web. Furthermore, the internet has become the integral part of the flight ticketing and reservation process, not only for travel agents; who have offices and make use of web servers of different airlines to find out the most suitable flight for a particular customer, but also for the customers who want to reserve flights online without necessarily having to contact air travel agents (Jones, 2004).
An airline ticketing and management system is very important because it has the strong ability to reduce errors that might have occurred when using a manual system of ticketing/reservation. The online system makes it possible for customers to book the flights as when they require. It also makes the easy saving and retrieval of these records seamless and fast. Customers can therefore make use of this system to make reservations, modify reservations in addition to cancel reservations. The proposed system software is specially developed to function as an independent application. It should be established as a self-contained product (Milde, 2008).
The need of this system was realized since the beginning stages of the airline industry when information such as routes, aircrafts, schedules and fares about flights was published by airlines in large books. Travel agents had the difficult task of looking into separate books for reservations that involve multiple airlines. It was a dream to get a real time picture of available seats because airlines share information at day end only. American Airline was the first to build the computerized system to allow access to real time data to all its offices. In 1964, Semi-Automated Business Research Environment (SABRE) was developed with the help of IBM. SABRE’s achievement was its capacity to keep inventory correct in real time, accessible to agents around the world. Prior to this, manual systems required centralized reservation centers, groups of people in a room with the physical cards that represented inventory, in this case, seats on airplanes (Desmond, 2000).
In this regard, an improved airline ticketing and management system is proposed with a variety of airline administration tasks and service passenger needs, from the time of initial reservation through completion of the flight.
The proposed system is developed with facilities that will enable passengers to book available flights, select seats for their flights, print boarding passes, access aircraft maintenance report, check-in online for their flight with the hope that it will help the airline by streamlining their process of reservation without human interaction to enable more efficiency in airline ticketing and management processes.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
During this research work, it was discovered that the Airline Ticketing and Management System used by some airline companies only offer the basic features of a ticketing system such as searching for flights, selecting available flights and paying for the reservation. This discovery brought about the idea of creating an improved ATMS. Some of the problems faced by the existing systems include:
I. Inability of passengers to select seat(s) for their chosen flight(s) from the existing reservation system. This has ultimately resulted in time being wasted at the check-in counter in assigning seats to passengers before they are allowed to board the airplane.
II. No option of passengers printing their boarding pass from the existing system.
III. Non notification of passengers in the event of flight cancellation or delays
IV. No access to aircraft maintenance reports to ease passenger fears as regards to air travel and its disasters.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this project is to design an improved ATMS that will allow passengers to book their flights with the following objectives:
1. To study any of the existing Airline Ticketing and Management System’s challenges and to infer possible solutions.
2. To design an improved ATMS that will solve the problems being faced by the existing system which include: inability of passengers to select seats for their chosen flight, no option of passengers printing their boarding pass, non-notification of passengers of flight cancellations or delays and lack of access to aircraft maintenance reports.
3. To implement the design and create an ATMS that captures self-booking.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This project work will be beneficial to the passengers and help improve the relationship between the passengers and the airline. The proposed system will help save time during passenger boarding as passengers will be able to select their seat(s) and also print their boarding pass from the reservation system and therefore reduce loading time instead of waiting in line at the check-in counter to select their seats and collect their boarding pass before being allowed to board the airplane. The system will also help minimize the number of vacant seats on a flight and maximize flight capacity utilization, and aid in the airline streamlining process of reservation without human intervention, hence enabling better efficiency in the airline sector.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this project is to create a system that will allow potential airline passengers of “Overland Airways” search and book available flights, select seats for their flights, pay for the booking, print their boarding pass only after payment, access aircraft maintenance reports and be notified of flight cancellation or delays.
1.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The limitation of this project is that, there are various types of airplanes, and each one is built for a specific purpose. These airplanes have different shapes, sizes and designs, the seat map used in this project is restricted to the seat layout of the three (3) different airplane types used by Overland Airways, and hence the aircraft maintenance reports will be limited to these three (3) airplane types.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The following are definitions terms used in this project:
1. Aircraft Maintenance Report: This document shows the periodic inspections that have been carried out on an aircraft.
2. Airline: An airline is a company that uses airplanes to transport people from one place to another.
3. Boarding Pass: This is a document provided by an airline when the ticket is issued or upon check-in at an airport, giving a passenger permission to board the airplane for a particular flight.
4. Cancel Reservation: This is the act of giving up or cancelling your reservation.
5. Check-In Counter: This is where passengers check in to the airline, buy or confirm their ticket, get their boarding pass and check in their luggage.
6. Check-In: This is the act of reporting one’s presence and registering at an airport, which can be carried out on the proposed system.
7. Computer Reservation System (CRS): This computerized system is used to store and retrieve information and conduct transactions related to air travel. It was originally designed and operated by airlines and was later extended for the use of travel agencies.
8. Database: This is a collection of information that is organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data.
9. Fare: An amount of money that a particular flight costs.
10. Flight Schedule: This contains information such as date, departure and arrival time of flights.
11. Flight: This is the act or process of travelling by air.
12. Global Distribution System (GDS): This is a system operated by a company that allows automated transactions between third parties and travel agents in order to provide travel-related services to the end clients.
13. Itinerary: This is a document that records a route or a journey that you are going to make, including information about when and where you will travel.
14. Modify Reservation: This is the act of making changes to your reservation.
15. Passenger Name Record (PNR): This is a record in the database of a reservation system that contains passenger personal information such as name, contact details, ticketing details such as a ticket number and the itinerary.
16. Reservation: This is an arrangement where something such as a seat on an aircraft is withheld or kept for a particular person.
17. Route: This is the way or direction that planes travel regularly.
18. Search Engine: This is the part of the reservation system that searches for and identifies flights in a database that correspond to parameters specified or inputted by the passenger.
19. Seat Inventory: This contains all the available seats for flights.
20. Seat Map: This is a graphical representation of the layout of seats inside a passenger aircraft. They are of use to passengers for selection of their seat at booking or check-in and are often published by airlines for informational purposes.
21. Travel Agent: This is a person or company that arranges tickets or book flights for passengers.
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