British Airways and the iPhone experience

We’ve talked a lot about how cell phones and blackberries are changing the travel experience in-flight. But there is plenty of action happening on the ground too. And rightly so. Nowadays, it’s pretty important to have up-to-the-minute flight information at your fingertips. This way, you’ll know when your aircraft is scheduled to (eventually) take off, or when it makes sense to get on the road to pick up your cousin at the airport.

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British Airways gets a gold star for its innovation in this regard. Available for free at the iTunes store, the carrier’s application for Apple iPhone users in the UK gives real-time flight arrival and departure information, the full BA timetable, and enables access to the carrier’s web site. Blackberry customers in the UK can also synch their booking to their online calendar and receive online check-in reminders.

The application has enjoyed extraordinary success and has exceeded expectations since its 10 July launch. “We’re hoping this will be available to US passengers later this year,” says BA, noting that there is no set US launch date as yet (a shame).

Dependent on the success of this trial, BA “will look to rollout to the rest of the world”, reveals the carrier.

Note to the world’s airlines: it’s time to make a similar leap. Kudos to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines for moving quickly to offer web apps for iPhone users.

Other fun programmes in the iPhone web apps travel category include Vegas.com Mobile Concierge, which allows you to “discover Sin City on-the-go”; the Florida Beach Webcam Network, a collection of webcams across many of Florida’s beaches (you’ll know which ones to avoid); and Taxi Please, which helps you score a taxi before the other poor sods.

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2 Responses to British Airways and the iPhone experience

  1. Christopher Davis September 17, 2008 at 4:45 pm #

    I’m hoping that airlines will make iPhone/iPod touch versions of their schedules available that are suitable for offline use, much as some of them have done in the past with Palm OS and/or Windows Mobile versions.

    iPhone-savvy websites or apps with real-time flight info are all well and good when you’re at home, but they do you no good at all at 35,000 ft when you’re trying to see what alternatives there are to the connection you’re in the process of missing. (You might also be using an iPod touch outside of Wi-Fi range, or you might not want to pay the airport’s extortionate charges for Wi-Fi and/or iPhone data roaming rates when you’re traveling internationally.)

    The application could easily check for more current schedule data when you do have connectivity, of course, and should do so automatically at an interval specified by the user.

  2. Jason Link September 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    Don’t forget Lufthansa’s mobile check-in option, where you can choose your seat on an interactive seat map, and get the boarding pass as 2D barcode on the display of your mobile. No need to print out the boarding pass or go to the self-service kiosks anymore. Just
    put down the phone with the code in the display on the barcode reader at the boarding gate and off you go. Works already for all intra-german flights.