“Over the years, airline travel has been a prime testbed for advanced computing and data tools. In the late 1950s and 1960s, American Airlines and I.B.M. teamed up to develop the Sabre computerized reservations system, perhaps the most impressive private-sector computer system of its day.
“More recently, airline data has served as the raw material for predictive data-mining applications like Farecast, which tells consumers whether the price of a plane ticket, for a specific trip on a specific day, is likely to rise or fall. (Farecast, founded in 2003 by Oren Etzioni, a University of Washington computer scientist, was sold to Microsoft in 2008. It is now part of Bing Travel.)
“But the airlines themselves have become laggards in data-handling innovation …”
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