Airline Mobile App Features of the Near Future

Via AAdvantageGeek, American is testing buy on board food pre-purchase via its mobile app.

That’s great, and I hope that will include the ability to make ‘free’ purchases for Executive Platinums, American is especially generous with their top tier elites allowing them a complimentary food item and complimentary cocktail by virtue of their status when they’re sitting in back.

American is also

…examining ways to improve some its existing mobile capabilities including offering “much deeper functionality around booking and changing existing reservations”, Leibman explains. “All of these things we have to varying degrees, but those areas are example of things that are on the slate to continue to evolve.” Another potential upgrade under consideration is improving mobile mapping functionality so customers could determine the number of miles they’re accruing for a particular trip.

That’s all great. But what I really want to see in the mobile app is:

  • Upgrade lists. Let’s face it, that’s what elites really care about, they’ll use your mobile technology if it’s the best way to see where they stand for an upgrade in real-time.
  • Lounge locations. The app does have, buried, maps for some terminals. And you can even zoom in one click, and then squint to try to find the symbols that you just know mean a lounge is supposed to be there. But it would be nice to have a list of lounges with locations at the touch of a finger. If it’s an airport I don’t frequent regularly, a touch of a screen when I land would tell me where I’m headed.
  • Real-time flight availability. Not just flight schedules, I want to know during irregular operations what flights have availability so I can proactively figure out what my options are rather than waiting for an agent to suggest something to me.

Obvious mobile app features that are already pretty universal are online checkin, viewing your reservations, seeing your mileage balance, and usually some sort of flight status.

But what features do you most want to see added to your airline’s mobile app?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This will be a hard one to get right — especially the transactional items in which you need to get some kind of confirmation back. Good luck to them (I hear United may have some surplus IT people they don’t need any longer).

  2. Agreed, upgrade lists and availability would be huge, especially since Flightstats’ availability tool is only available from their website, not their app.

    For lounge locations, there’s an Outlook contact you can download from the AC website that has the full list — no detail beyond location, and I don’t think it’s been updated in a year to reflect closures, but better than nothing (and faster than opening the app anyway).

    Here’s a direct link to the .vcf:

  3. Probably misguided to wish for things that Elites would only use, they’ll develop functionality toward the majority of flyers not just the minority.

  4. With Google starting to map the interior of various malls, and presumably “coming soon” various airport terminals, it would certainly be possible for American or anybody else to use your smart phones GPS to determine where you are, and give you directions to your next gate automatically, or to the nearest lounge, or anything else. Certainly something they should think about.

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