On this morning’s London Heathrow to Edinburgh flight, BA customers were able to checkin using their iPhones for the first time. Although checkin via the mobile site, ba2go.com, has been available for at least two years, the app allows travellers to generate a QR code boarding pass and proceed straight to the gate, subject to the usual baggage and security procedures.
BA’s updated iPhone app also includes a view of upcoming bookings, access to your Executive Club account, ability to search arrival and departure information as well as access to BA’s mobile site and Twitter stream.
Plans are in place to expand the use of the mobile check-in to cover all domestic flights by the end of August before expanding its use to regional short-haul and eventually long-haul flights.
Updated apps for Android and Blackberry devices have also been made available and they include access to much the same information, although with the notable exception of not having the mobile check-in facility.
We asked Paul Coby, BA CIO, for some comments…
“We’re the first British airline to make an App available across all major platforms – iPhone, Blackberry and Android operating systems. We’re also the first airline to feature a unique personalised home page with next flight details, which are linked directly to our Executive Club.
This shows BA’s continuing commitment to It led customer focused innovation. This is a great example of BA Technology Services working with the business to deliver mobile apps that really make a difference for our customers.”
In a recent interview released on YouTube, Chris Davies, head of digital marketing, said…
“Mobility and convenience is key for our customers, so that no matter where they are, they can turn to their mobile phones to find the very latest information about flights, check in times and even access boarding passes allowing them to stay one step ahead.”
In the same interview, Richard Bowden, Digital Marketing Innovation Manager, talks about BA’s updated suite of apps delivering what BA believes the customer wants. The airline seems to be device agnostic and will follow what they believe to be customer demand.
I’ve long since been an advocate of making data available via API as I believe it could open the airline to innovative apps, both standalone and integration to aggregators such as TripIt or WorldMate. When asked about this, Chris Carmichael, Manager of BA.com and Mobile Innovation, admitted it had been discussed but there was currently a sense that the airline were “still getting the hang of it” and there were no fixed plans at present.
Although BA is not the first major carrier to offer this functionality on the iPhone (Cathay Pacific, Southwest Airlines and I’m sure some others), they are the first in the UK to do so and they’ve certainly laid down the gauntlet for their local competitors.
Note, updated shortly after publication with a quote from Paul Coby, CIO of BA