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Beware of the details!

Sogeti Labs
June 19, 2013

I am, for business reasons, a frequent traveler, and a heavy user of self check-in and electronic boarding pass that allow you to save a lot of time. This morning, I was flying with a low-cost airline, one of these young, dynamic and agile companies I appreciate. They were the first in Spain to implement Apple’s Passbook ticketing system, which allows all kind of coupons and tickets to be centralized in one place in your phone. It’s very easy to use and just working fine. I proceeded to security control with just my iPhone and the Passbook App opened with the corresponding boarding pass. Unfortunately, it was refused by the machine, and a friendly guard told me: “Oh yes, this company has been having this issue with the iPhone for the past three weeks now” and I had to make the queue to get a physical boarding pass. It was just 30 minutes before departure… I had to rush and eventually got my plane but I definitely don’t like the way they had me run all over the airport. Unfortunately, this kind of mess is not limited to young modern and not very detail prone airlines. Last month, I flew with one of the “traditional” carriers, the kind that would like to make the sky my new home (thanks for the proposal, but I prefer my own…). I was proposed to receive the boarding pass by MMS. I thought erroneously that I would directly receive the QR code in the message. But no, here is what I received:


Strange, I thought: why using a MMS to send a pure text message? Well, OK, I pinched the link. And this is what I got: BoardingPassBrowser I had to zoom-in to be able to read what the hell they wanted from me and then switch between MMS and browser to copy/paste the login data… Considering the difficulties, it would have been so much easier to print the boarding card from my computer. That’s not cool at all. And I surely won’t make a plane my home if I start hating the company before getting onboard. So, here we are: don’t spend million of euros in marketing to try to be the coolest company on Earth, if you are not able to take care of the small technology details that are supposed to facilitate yours customer’s life. Otherwise it will just show to the world what you actually are: a shinny but careless and technologically inefficient company that actually makes your customer feel miserable.

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


    One thought on “Beware of the details!

    1. The whole concept of ‘boarding pass’ is stuck in the airlines minds. I don’t understand why I cannot ‘autocheckin’ at the moment i make a booking (immediately receive my boarding pass, and if I need to cancel, I’ll cancel). Also, electronic boarding passes that DO NOT UPDATE is the stupidest thing ever: if the flight is delayed or the gate changes, the electronic boarding pass remains the same, even when it’s served from a website directly.. does not make any sense. And finally, why need a boarding pass at all: can’t I simply subscribe a valid ID (credit card, passport) to be used as a boarding pass?
      Or, if you want to go the other way: go back to (credit-card sized) paper boarding passes that people receive at home, that can become collectible items. Make it a loyalty/brand thing…
      But don’t get me started on how the airline industry could improve 🙂

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