With the release this week of an iPhone app, US Airways passengers now have a new way to manage their travel experience. The app is basic, offering access to the core functions most customers need. It has a few features that others are missing but, for the most part, the US Airways version trails their competitors in overall functionality.
The app includes efficient basic abilities you might expect from an airline's app—you can book new flights, review existing itineraries, and check in for upcoming trips. It also has PassBook integration for boarding passes.
The app also has a baggage tracer option which can help customers locate lost bags, a feature most other airlines don't have in their apps. This is separate from the regular baggage tracker feature the airline just released. It, too is available in the app though it is just a portal to the regular website, not an integrated view of the data.
Other features, such as terminal maps and a guide to the airport clubs, help passengers to navigate the airport during their trips. At the same time, things like managing existing reservations, changing seat assignments, or other, similar travel options are not available, which are features many customers are sure to miss.
And, somewhat frustratingly, US Airways uses the app as an opportunity to drive incremental revenue by including an option to apply for the co-branded credit card. Oddly enough, there is no option to purchase a day-pass to the lounges.
Given their late entry into the iPhone app space, it seems like there was an opportunity for US Airways to do something new and innovative. But, while functional, the app is very much an entry-level version. It is also somewhat surprising that it was released at this stage, given the pending merger between US Airways and American Airlines. That said, it will likely be a year or more before the integration of the two carriers once the merger is approved, so making these iPhone app functionalities available to passengers in the interim isn't a bad idea.
Photo credits: Screen shots via Seth Miller