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United Airlines expands reach with Windows 8 app

With the new app, consumers can make United reservations and stay up-to-date with information leading up to their travels. Marketers are increasingly eyeing Microsoft’s Windows 8 as a new and viable operating system to roll out new apps on.

“United is continually adding products to meet growing market trends and address the specific travel needs of our customers,” said Jeff Ulrich, senior manager for mobile and tablet applications at United, Chicago.

“We want to ensure that our customers are equipped with the best mobile tools to make their travel more convenient,” he said.

“In addition to United’s iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps, the Windows Phone 8 app completes the platform availability.”

Fly on mobile
The Windows 8 app lets consumers book reservations and integrates with MileagePlus – United’s frequent flier program.

MileagePlus users can apply their reward travels to book a flight and view their account information via the app.

Consumers can sign up for a MileagePlus account and find United Club locations in airports. Furthermore, users can buy a one-time pass to a United Club.

Besides booking, the app serves as a resource for consumers on their day of their trip. For instance, consumers can check-in for flights and access boarding passes from the app.

Additionally, consumers can view their flight’s seat map and departure gate. Consumers can also learn about in-flight amenities.

Live tiles let consumers monitor a selected flight.

The app also incorporates games for consumers to play and links to United’s social media sites.

Mobile wings
Airlines have significantly been ramping up their mobile presence to aid in consumers’ journeys.

Nowadays, basic mobile booking is table stakes for airlines. Airlines have to think of additional ways to spur engagement while consumers are traveling.

In this case, having a mobile app presence across all devices that integrates loyalty is key.

United initially rolled out its iPhone app in 2011 with features that let consumers download and store mobile boarding passes (see story).

As consumers increasingly turn to their mobile devices to manage their daily lives, apps have a particularly strong selling point for airlines for acquisition and retention efforts.

“It was something our customers told us they wanted, and the Windows Phone 8 operating system provided an opportunity to create an app that would take advantage of the unique features that Windows Phone offers,” Mr. Ulrich said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York