All airlines need to model their mobile app after United’s iPhone App. This is the most useful travel tool I have…when I am flying on United. Recently I have used British Airways, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta’s iPhone Apps. None are as full featured as the United iPhone App.
The key feature of this United’s iPhone App focuses around check-in. Checking in for a flight is simple and easy including getting your mobile boarding pass. In addition to this United has added features that are very useful particularly when checking in on the go. You can change your seat, up till the gate takes over the flight, even after you have checked in already. Normally upgrades are all done by the 24 hour check-in time, but not always. These last-minute upgrades are usually frequent flyers who typically release the best seats, bulk heads, aisles, and exit rows. I always check-in 24 hours in advance to get put on the standby upgrade list. Then I keep checking for better seats to open up and they often do.
The next great feature is the ability to change to another flight. I am not sure when United started offering free flight changes, but this is awesome. Delayed getting to the airport? Getting there early? Just go to the United iPhone App, click on check-in (even if you are already checked in), scroll down to “Change your flight” and you will be presented with a list of available flights. I have always been able to get the flight change confirmed, for free, and pick my seat!
Another key feature for in-transit travel planning is “Where is this aircraft coming from?”. This feature shows you where the plane, that your flight is scheduled to leave on, is when you run the check. This is useful in determining if your flight will be delayed. Sometimes an earlier flight has not left yet due to some delay, should you take it? This will help you decide if that would be a good idea or not.
United’s iPhone App also allows you to book flights, get flight status (helped when I was diverted from Narita to Osaka recently), and airport maps. The App also lists all the United Clubs (which are free to use on International flights if you have Star Alliance Gold Status) and a variety of other useful features including a Direct TV listing. You can view and change all your reservations, recognize a United employee as an out performer, look up time tables, view United Tweets, perform currency conversion, and even games!
And of course you can save paper and time using their electronic check-in.
United got it right with a very full featured application, that is extremely useful when on the go.