In the last three weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to fly American, Continental, and Southwest Airlines. All legs of the American flights arrived and departed on time, but both Southwest and Continental experiences delays caused by weather.
I was surprised to see that, in one aspect, Continental trumped Southwest. Here’s the scenario. You want to use your smart phone to check flight status to see if the flight on which you are booked departs on time.
If you’re flying Southwest, you can arrange ahead of time to have your flight status texted to your phone. You have to navigate several screens before you get there and even if you have the site bookmarked, you still have to reenter the address you want the information texted to each time you fly.
If you haven’t set it up ahead of time (and I hadn’t) you have to search to find it. You have to go through several pages on southwest.com even though you’re using mobile.southwest.com when using a smart phone.
But if you’re flying Continental Airlines, all you do is go to continental.com/info and enter your flight number. It’s defaulted to the same day, but you can change the dates. Up pops the status. Instant gratification.
While flying Southwest yesterday, I was tethered to the gate because I didn’t want to miss the boarding announcement and didn’t trust the status boards in the airport to reflect the latest changes. I love Southwest, but to me it seems like their flight status technology is several years out of date. I was frustrated because I wanted to use my Blackberry to check flight status while I was away from the gate. But I couldn’t do that. I tried to set up text messaging, but my flight was arriving too soon
When flying Continental I was able to use a day pass to spend my wait time in Continental’s Presidents Club. I frequently checked my flight’s status using my Blackberry to get to their Web site and found it to be fast and accurate.
Winner in the user-interface category: Continental Airlines.
I’d like to see all airlines adopt a method as simple as Continental’s.
How’s your user-interface?