Workshop: Distribution shifts: connecting methods and applications (DistShift)

Distribution Shift in Airline Customer Behavior during COVID-19

Abhinav Garg · naman shukla · Lavanya Marla · Sriram Somanchi


Traditional AI approaches in customized (personalized) contextual pricing applications assume that the data distribution at the time of online pricing is similar to that observed during training. However, this assumption may be violated in practice because of the dynamic nature of customer buying patterns, particularly due to unanticipated system shocks such as COVID-19. We study the changes in customer behavior for a major airline during the COVID-19 pandemic by framing it as a covariate shift detection problem. We identify which customers changed their travel and purchase behavior and the attributes affecting that change using (i) Fast Generalized Subset Scanning and (ii) Causal Forests. In our experiments with simulated and real-world data, we present how these two techniques can be used to detect covariate shifts through qualitative analysis.

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