Travel Tip: Use the Airline App
Have you thought about using an airline’s smart phone app?
We use them religiously. And most of them work brilliantly and will really help your travel experience.
Sarah, a follower, tells us this near horror story because she didn’t use an airline app and she relied on the airline’s email notifications.
She didn’t want us to mention the airline since it is only 1 of 2 airlines she uses.
Sarah was flying to the Dominican Republic to an all-inclusive resort for a girls get-away. Her flight was scheduled to leave at 8:15 am but when she arrived at the airport the flight had departed at 6 am. She showed the airline official the email she received that showed the incorrect flight departure time sent to her -- the night before.
Sarah had to rebook a flight at another airport about an hour away, forcing her to miss her connecting flight and a full day of her vacation.
The airline took her complaint but did nothing to compensate her even though the evidence of the email was there.
So let’s remember a few givens when it comes to airline travel in the US.
First, airlines in the US are part of an oligopoly, so you get a limited choice of destinations, higher prices, and full jetliners. There is very little free market conditions to give travel consumers more power. Sarah was just one of many complaining with little options.
Second, most US airports have woefully outdated infrastructure – especially compared to Asia, Australia, the UK and Europe. We have noticed longer waits on runways to either take-off or to find an open gate to disembark.
Third, when traveling out of the country – especially during winter months to tropical locations – flight times will change many times. On a recent trip to Curacao our departure time from Raleigh, NC to Miami, FL changed three times to apparently accommodate the flight changes for foreign destinations leaving Miami. Keep an eye on the board at the airport.
Fourth, all companies are going digital to reduce costs. Having to update an email and send it directly to you is an old and costly way of communicating. Download the app and get connected.
We mention that so you know what the reality is. Don’t worry though. Once you’re connected, it’s all good.
You can avoid many headaches by getting the smart phone app for the airline(s) you fly on. We use the American Airline app which has worked perfectly for us:
It lists all your flights.
It lets you check-in while delivering an e-ticket to your phone.
It lets you know the gate and baggage claim for your flight.
It tracks your luggage so you know if it is on your flight and when it is transferred to another one.
It’s great for checking on the status for a flight of a friend flying in who you are picking up or meeting.
It immediately notifies you about any changes in your flights. We have been notified on the app about a flight cancellation before the airline personnel and flight attendants even know, so we had a jump on calling the airline to rebook.
Airline apps are free.
They’re easy to download.
All you do is enter the information such as your frequent flier number and the usual information you give the airline. You can also enter the locator number of any flight.
If you are smart phone challenged, find a teenager to help you.
Most of you probably will only need to add one or two airline apps since we recommend you choose one or two airlines to fly on consistently so you can get more frequent flier benefits and elite status.
We’ll have more tips on elite status and frequent flier benefits coming soon.