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My organization coordinates international trips, and so we collect flight information for airport pickups. Currently, we use a google form and multiple spreadsheets, but I am exploring possibilities for civi.

What I would like:

  • user reporting of their own flight information - arrival date/time, flight info
  • user editing of the flight information would be ideal (through online profiles)
  • assign someone to pick them up
  • create reports and/or exports of the flight information

Here are some options I am thinking of, and I invite suggestions for the best way to handle this use case. (We use Joomla, so webforms are not an option.)

  • Create custom Participant fields. The problem with this is that the user could only report them when registering for the event, when they are unlikely to have booked their flights.
  • Create custom Contact fields, with a profile for user input/editing. One drawback of this is that it isn't really "contact" information, but I'm willing to overlook that.
  • Create custom contact fields with multiple records, which makes more sense that simple contact fields. I haven't used these yet for other cases, but it seems that reporting/exporting would be a problem.
  • Create a "Flight" Activity Type, and use the standard activity fields to record the information. The advantage of this is that it doesn't require custom fields, but as far as I can tell, users wouldn't be able to self-report through a front-end profile.

Has anyone else developed a process for tracking airport pickups? What might be some other good options?

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So I did this with your option:

Create custom Contact fields, with a profile for user input/editing. One drawback of this is that it isn't really "contact" information, but I'm willing to overlook that.

It worked pretty well of course I am only working on one trip at a time - so multiple trips are not needed. This would get a bit hairy if you had the same person having multiple trips at the same time - if that is not the case it should work

  • Thanks for your review. I suspect I'll go this route with these fields: - arrival time - arrival flight (airline and # - I don't care about consistency in this) - departure time - departure flight - text field for "comments/connecting flights" - pickup person (associated contact) Then I'll clear the fields after the flights as needed. – Phil Morice Brubaker Jul 17 '17 at 16:28
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looks like you have done a good analysis of the options. Here is one extra one - add CiviCRM to a Drupal website - make the Drupal website theme match your joomla one - push folks through to the Drupal site - and then make use of Views and Webforms to deliver all the bits that you can't do via Joomla.

Possibly not the answer you want, but trade-off might be doing a fair amount of workaround/customisation with joomla, versus having a different front end for civicrm and getting a bunch of drupal tools that will take care of a lot of what i see you need.

  • Thanks. I'll think about this one. Adding Contact fields is quick-and-dirty, but this one would open other possibilities. I'd love to have webforms. – Phil Morice Brubaker Jul 17 '17 at 16:34
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We have a customer that use CiviCase to manage the flight travel for their volunteers, including all the visa processes required. They give the pick up contact a role on the case. Works well for them!

  • Interesting. I haven't used CiviCase - would it add more demanding overhead to the server to install it for only this purpose? Are front-end users able to add their own info, or it is all back-end? – Phil Morice Brubaker Jul 17 '17 at 16:25
  • I do not think it adds any demanding overhead, but I am not a sysadmin :-). CiviCase is back-end (CIviCRM component) but if you are using Drupal you could use Webform CiviCRM integration to enable front-end users to add their own. – ErikH - CiviCooP Jul 18 '17 at 7:12
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The "flight" activity type seems like the way to go, if someone could have multiple flights. If there's a single flight, I agree that you could use Contact custom fields.

  • I just used the arriving flight not the connecting flight - created two fields for flight - one for airline codes which are drop down - and one for flight number - also did this for departing day and time - also used date Min and max to make sure correct dates were entered / forced – Josh Mailman Jul 15 '17 at 16:29
  • If it works for you, then it's the correct answer! :) However, is it possible that someone will take a second round-trip flight? If so, do you still need the old flight info? Your solution isn't a problem unless the answer to both is "yes". – Jon G - Megaphone Tech Jul 16 '17 at 17:15

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