Lufthansa Air Cargo Innovation Challenge

The Lufthansa Cargo Innovation Challenge contest opened today. With a prize of a flight to Frankfurt, time in a flight simulator, and the potential to alter the global shipping industry forever, I am all over it! Not to mention that I love Lufthansa Airlines the way I used to love Continental: I’m not just trying to win brownie-points, but my Lufthansa flight to with my mom to Germany about 15 years ago is one of my favorite flights of all time. Complimentary beer and actual metal flatware in Economy class. Unheard of these days!

In any event, the contest is focused on several different streams looking for innovations in sales, handling, transport, and customer service operations of Lufthansa Cargo.

Two ideas instantly came to mind.

The first was to improve shipping customer loyalty by awarding frequent flyer miles for each package a customer ships? If I had to choose between a bunch of shipping companies, all of which provided a similar service at similar rates, I would almost always choose one that awards miles for loyalty.

The second idea, which I’m a little more proud of, was to allow customers to look at cargo routes and dates to figure out the least busy days to ship. Based on market economics, days on which planes were more full may cost more, to encourage cargo shippers to put their items in transit on a different day where there is more space available. It’s the same way I can currently adjust my own air travel dates and score cheaper flights by flying on days when planes are less full. It saves the shipper money, it saves Lufthansa from flying half full cargo planes, and there is almost no real downside that I can see except for the initial costs of building the app and ramping up the logistics.

Got a great idea? The contest runs from now through November 7 (or 7 November, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on). Check it out: