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Alaska Airlines revamps Android app with mobile ticketing

In addition to commerce, the Android app has also been updated to include more features to round out a traveler’s itinerary, such as parking reminders. A similar feature is slated to be rolled out on Alaska Airline’s iPhone app in January.

“Our approach is to start with what the customer wants to do and build around that,” said Marianne Lindsey, spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines, Seattle.

“Our customers needs and usage in mobile have changed rapidly in the last two years,” she said. “Two years ago, being able to access flight information and get a mobile boarding pass were the most important things.”

“Now many customers want to book tickets on smart phones, so this was our next priority. We launched booking on our mobile Web site a few months ago and are now following with our apps.”

Mobile ticketing
Consumers can download the Alaska Airlines app for free from Google Play.

Via the app, consumers can book and buy tickets via their handset.

Besides basic commerce, the app also serves as a guide in helping users manage all parts of their airline experience.

For example, users can select and change seats on their flight from the app.

Moreover, the app lets travelers check-in for flights and serves as a mobile boarding pass.

Users can create a parking reminder and add notes for hotel and car reservations.

Consumers can also set up SMS and email alerts and manage their Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan information.

“By definition our customers are mobile because they are travelers,” Ms. Lindsey said.

“We know that our customers will continue to interact with us on many screens – PC, tablet, kiosk, smartphone – but on the day of travel the smart phone becomes very important,” she said.

“We have seen significant increases in mobile check-in, for instance, just in the last 10 months.”

Travel plans
Airline companies have been ramping up their mobile efforts lately.

Although booking is still a priority, more brands are leveraging mobile as a way to complete the entire travel booking experience.

For example, earlier this year British Airways rolled out an app to let consumers share their travel itineraries via social media (see story). 

Most recently, Alaska Airlines rolled out the Deals and Destinations Windows 8 app, which lets users find airfare deals in their cities (see story).

Alaska Airlines also has iOS apps and a mobile Web site that consumers can book flights from.

Moreover, the company has recently used SMS to let users track their flights.

“Our customers are increasingly using mobile devices so it is important that we continue to provide the capabilities that we want,” Ms. Lindsey said.

“We will continue to focus in particular on the day of travel and to listen to feedback from our customers,” she said.

“The key is to provide a simple, intuitive user experience that makes the travel experience easy and fun for our customers.”

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