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Babson Business: 1.800.Flights



Name of business: 1.800.Flights

Mission:Providing toll-free flight status, gate, and terminal information by phone for airlines and airports nationwide.

Began: 2007

Where: Houston, Texas

Founder: Seth Stolbun, Babson Ugrad;, 1-866-447-9937

Employees: Four-member startup team

How the idea began:  1.800.Flights was the result of my two-week senior internship with my dad, Sam Stolbun.  My dad has owned the 1-800-Flights number since 1987 and had not been using it. I came up with the concept of using voice recognition technology and an advertising-supported revenue model for a flight status service that would be free to consumers and provide nationwide coverage with one-number convenience.  

Initial Preparation to germinate idea: I had to identify a company to develop the software and host the phone calls for 1.800.Flights. Also identify and hire a second company to provide ours with the most up-to date flight status information.  To execute the idea, we merged the two services into one, unique service; and determine the length of advertising spot.  I led the development of the branding and marketing for the new service.

Favorite thing about the business: The huge potential this business has to grow into, given the millions of air travelers in the U.S. annually.

Worst thing about the business: I always ask the system when I call How's your day going? but all it ever says is I'm sorry I did not get that.   

Biggest challenge: To bring all of the outsourced companies together to produce a great service.

Lesson learned: I have learned patience. When I first came up with the idea for 1.800.Flights I thought we could just buy some pre-packaged software and launch and sell the company before the end of my two week internship.  Instead I had ten months of research, development, and beta testing before we were ready to launch 1.800.Flights