When you travel, do you download the airline’s own app, or do you use a variety of different websites and flight tracking apps to get the information you need, like flight information or airport maps? Airline apps do offer some benefits, especially in the pre-boarding stage of a trip like check-in reminders via push notifications, the ability to choose or change your seat, monitoring of stand-by status and flight delay or cancellation notifications. So if airline apps have the ability to provide all this information, why do 25% of the 3,000 travelers who responded to a recent FlightView survey “never” use the airline’s app, and 45% only “sometimes”?
An important aspect when traveling is speed, and one advantage for the airline apps is faster check-in via their apps versus their mobile websites since the apps can save your profile information. But speed can also be a strike against them, since 48% of the travelers FlightView surveyed complained about the poor usability of some airline apps, namely, not being able to find what they’re looking for quickly. Other areas of dissatisfaction were data inaccuracies (an issue for 29% of those surveyed) and lack of desired functionality (an issue for 23% of those surveyed).
So, aside from better usability, what additional functionality do travelers want in an airline app? The majority (68%) told us they want visual tracking of their plane when it’s not yet on the jetway, so that they can better plan around potential delays. 66% want real-time alerts on special conditions that might affect their travel plans, like parking lot closings or emergency announcements. Almost half (45%) want GPS walking directions of the airport and 37% want to view restaurant/activity deals and offers for their destination. The message is loud and clear: travelers want relevant, timely information on events that might cause loss of valuable time (which a recent SITA survey found was the most stressful part of the journey). More information means more control, which reduces stress and creates a better travel experience.
What’s your experience? If you use an airline’s app, does it help you have a better travel experience, or could it be doing more?